The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World

Quel che affidiamo al vento
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Harry N. Abrams
January 2020
Hardcover
416
Italian
Lucy Rand
August 1, 2022 August 5, 2022

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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Sweet Bean Paste

あん
,

Oneworld Publications
February 6th 2013
Paperback
213
Japanese
Alison Watts
April 15, 2022 April 17, 2022

Sentaro has failed. He has a criminal record, drinks too much, and his dream of becoming a writer is just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste.

But everything is about to change.

Into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. Tokue makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted. She begins to teach him her craft, but as their friendship flourishes, social pressures become impossible to escape and Tokue's dark secret is revealed, with devastating consequences.

Sweet Bean Paste is a moving novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship. Translated into English for the first time, Durian Sukegawa's beautiful prose is capturing hearts all over the world.


About the book

Second reading of this masterpiece. Finally I have my own copy where I was able to put all the post-its and annotations and there are so many! I refer you to the first review of the book here.

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Brilliance of the Moon

Brilliance of the Moon
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, Book # 3
Riverhead Books
June 3rd 2004
Paperback
346
English
February 7, 2022 February 25, 2022
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A beautiful, haunting evocation of the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's imagination, this thrilling follow-up to Grass for His Pillow and Across the Nightingale Floor delves deeper into the complex loyalties that bind its characters from birth. Filled with adventure and surprising twists of plot and fortune, this final volume travels beyond the Three Countries, to the outside influences that threaten to intrude upon this isolated realm.


About the book

Last book in the first trilogy of the Tales of the Otori series. Takeo and Kaede got married without Arai Daiichi’s permission and this unleashes his anger. In addition, the noble Fujiwara, a great friend of Arai, considered himself to be Kaede’s fiancé and therefore feels betrayed by the woman. If we add Takeo’s uncles who don’t recognise him as the heir of the noble Shigero, Takeo faces a tough battle. But a prophecy awaits him: “You will have to fight five battles to obtain peace: four you will win, one you will lose”. And it seems to come true. But what became of Yuki’s son? Will he meet his father?

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Grass for His Pillow

Grass for His Pillow
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, Book # 2
Riverhead Books
August 11th 2003
Paperback
344
English
February 2, 2022 February 6, 2022
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Praised for its epic scope and descriptive detail, Across the Nightingale Floor, the first book in the Tales of the Otori series, was an international bestseller and critical success, named by the London Times as "the most compelling novel to have been published this year." With Grass for His Pillow, Book Two, we return to the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's creation—a land of harsh beauty and deceptive appearances.In a complex social hierarchy, amid dissembling clans and fractured allegiances, there is no place for passionate young love. The orphan Takeo has been condemned to work as an assassin—an enforced occupation that his father sacrificed his own life to escape. Meanwhile, Takeo’s beloved Shirakawa Kaede, heir to the Murayama and alone in the world, must find a way to unify the domain she has inherited, as she fights off the advances of would-be suitors and hopes against fading hope that Takeo will return to her...


About the book

Second book in the Otori Saga series. Here, we find Takeo and Kaede divided after their night together. He followed the Tribe and is hidden for a while because he was wanted by Arai. She returns to her feud, meets her grown-up sisters together with her father and tries to establish her dominion over her lands. But she is a woman, she cannot rule for her husband. And she isn’t married or maybe she is? To hide Takeo’s pregnancy, she claims that she is Shigeru’s wife and that immediately after the wedding he was killed.

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Sweet Bean Paste

あん
,

Oneworld Publications
February 6th 2013
Paperback
213
Japanese
Alison Watts
November 14, 2021 November 16, 2021
,

Sentaro has failed. He has a criminal record, drinks too much, and his dream of becoming a writer is just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste.

But everything is about to change.

Into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. Tokue makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted. She begins to teach him her craft, but as their friendship flourishes, social pressures become impossible to escape and Tokue's dark secret is revealed, with devastating consequences.

Sweet Bean Paste is a moving novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship. Translated into English for the first time, Durian Sukegawa's beautiful prose is capturing hearts all over the world.


About the book

Sentarou works in a doriyaki shop, typical Japanese sweets, but uses industrial bean jam. Perhaps this is why the sales are not good.

Tokue is a peculiar old woman, who understands what Sentarou’s problem is and she hopes to get hired by the young man for a very small sum of money. But the woman has deformed hands and a lot of scars and at first Sentarou is afraid that people will not want to eat his doriyaki for this reason.

However, he owes a debt to the store owner and after Tokue lets him taste her bean jam, he realises that he has no choice if he wants to pay off the debt as soon as possible he has to hire Tokue.

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