Book Reviews - Sallie Eden Book Reviews 2021

Book Review – November 2021 – Sallie Eden

The Phone box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina (translated from the original Italian by Lucy Rand)

Published by Manilla Press 2020
Inspired by a true story and a real place, the author (who lives in Japan) writes of a disconnected telephone box installed in a garden near to one of the places in Japan worst hit by the 2011 tsunami. Thousands of people visit each year to “speak to the wind”. They believe that the telephone will enable them to talk to their lost loved ones.
Yui has lost her daughter and mother. Takeshi has lost his wife; his young daughter no longer speaks. They come together over shared grief and their hopes for the future.
Through the words and experiences of a range of characters, all hoping to find a way to connect with their loved ones, we learn that loss is different for each of them. For some, the person they’ve lost is still with them.
I’m not quite sure of the purpose of the short chapters scattered throughout the main body of the story, but this is a sensitively and imaginatively written novel, although probably not a book to read when you’re feeling low, even if it eventually conveys a positive message.
Overall, this is something a bit different and is a wonderful introduction to Japanese culture.

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