The term contemporary fiction describes stories set in modern times that don’t bring in any elements of fantasy. It is technically a kind of realistic fiction, and the term “contemporary” is used specifically to distinguish it from realistic fiction with a historical setting, which is also generally common and fairly popular. Contemporary fiction is normally focused on giving people a window into some corner of everyday experience and showing them what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes. Some of the stories may be politically-motivated or designed to raise social awareness, while others exist purely for the purposes of entertainment.
Penny is in great trepidation: she is about to have an interview with the famous Mr. Dollagut, the enlightened owner of the Department Store of Dreams, the most coveted four-story store in the city. A completely unique place where you can only enter when you are asleep and where only dreams are sold. Dreams of all kinds, for all tastes, organised by sections: dreams related to the small pleasures of life or memories of special moments, exclusive dreams that allow you to meet those who are no longer there, dreams dedicated to naps for animals and children, limited editions and timeless bestsellers sold at special prices. After an enigmatic interview in which Dollagut questions her about the meaning of her dreams, Penny is hired, but her euphoria gives way to her despondency when she finds herself literally overwhelmed by the amount of customers who storm the shelves every day of the department store. As she learns to orient herself alongside her more expert colleagues, she also discovers the secret that makes the Department Store of Dreams such a special place: the magical function that every dream brings with it, the ability to awaken buried emotions, to bring to life sensations never experienced, and very often to overcome traumas, such as mourning or the end of a love story. Among the clients chasing dreams, Penny will meet Jeong A-young, who takes refuge in dreams to escape loneliness, looking for a spark that can warm her heart, or Hyeon Jong-seok, who seeks confirmation in dreams that he is ready to love again. She will learn that a premonitory dream, like having a baby, is a small foray into the future, and that even nightmares are precious allies in overcoming a critical moment in life.
About the book
This book, at this date hasn’t an English translation.
It would be nice to be able to buy dreams so that we only dream what we want. In this world you can. There is a large warehouse of several floors where while sleeping you wander around the city until you get to the reception of the warehouse of the dreams. And here you can choose what to buy. Not always though.
Penny gets a job at the dream department store and meets all kinds of people there. Sold dreams are of many kinds and slowly we discover people’s lives through their dreams.
The international bestselling novel sold in 21 countries, about grief, mourning, and the joy of survival, inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with its disconnected “wind” phone, a place of pilgrimage and solace since the 2011 tsunami
When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from that date onward: Everything is relative to March 11, 2011, the day the tsunami tore Japan apart, and when grief took hold of her life. Yui struggles to continue on, alone with her pain.
Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around.
Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother’s death.
Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World is the signpost pointing to the healing that can come after.
About the book
I’ve read a few things about the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and would like to read more, but I didn’t know anything about this phone booth. The book is about mourning, about people who can’t get over the death of a loved one. The phone mentioned is not connected with the afterlife, of course, but it gives a sense of completeness to whoever picks it up. Not everyone talks to their loved ones lost in the tsunami, as the writer herself tells us, she herself didn’t lose anyone in the Great East Japan Earthquake, so the cabin has become a destination for those people who have unfinished business and I find a good thing that it stays that way and doesn’t become a tourist destination.
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