Strange Weather in Tokyo

Title: Strange Weather In Tokyo (original title: センセイの鞄) Writer: Hiromi Kawakami (translated by Allison Markin Powell) Publishing House: Granta Date of Publication: August 6th 2020 (first published 2001) Rating: 5 stars ‘’In the autumn there are dead leaves all over the place and in winter the bare branches are bleak and dreary.’’ A woman and…

Shoko’s Smile

Title: Shoko’s Smile (original title: 쇼코의 미소) Writer: Choi Eunyoung (translated by Sung Ryu) Publishing House: John Murray Press Date of Publication: August 19th 2021 (first published July 7th 2016) Rating: 5 stars “I dig my hands into the cold sand and gaze at the black, shimmering sea. It feels like the edge of the…

Earthlings

Title: Earthlings (original title: 地球星人) Writer: Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori) Publishing House: Granta Date of Publication: September 29th 2020 (first published August 31st 2018) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Magical powers. I have to summon my magical powers. The power of darkness, the power of wind – any magical power will do, but I…

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales from the Café (original title: 在謊言拆穿之前) Writer: Toshikazu Kawaguchi (translated by Geoffrey Trousselot) Publishing House: Picador Date of Publication: September 17th 2020 (first published April 27th 2018) Rating: 5 stars ‘’That night… Around the station there stood many Christmas trees, decorated with lights that shone and sparkled. The…

The Emperor of Shoes

Title: The Emperor of Shoes Writer: Spencer Wise Publishing House: Hanover Square Press Date of Publication: June 5th 2018 Rating: 5 stars ‘’We’ve always been citizens of the world. No, that’s not true. We’ve always been outsiders. On the run.’’ Alex is at a crossroads. Working in his father’s factory in China, he comes in…

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Title: Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 (original title: 82년생 김지영) Writer: Cho Nam-Joo (tr. by Jamie Chang) Publishing House: Scribner UK Date of Publication: February 20th 2020 (first published October 14th 2016) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Help out? What is it with you and ‘’helping out?’’ You’re going to ‘’help out’’ with chores. ‘’Help out’’ with raising…

Lonely Castle In the Mirror

Title: Lonely Castle In The Mirror (original title: かがみの孤城) Writer: Mizuki Tsujimura (translated by Philip Gabriel) Publishing House: Doubleday Date of Publication:  April 22nd 2021 (first published May 11th 2017) Rating: 2 stars ‘’You are all Little Red Riding Hoods.’’ A lonely castle no one defends, a castle standing alone. A young girl is being…

Untold Night and Day

Title: Untold Night and Day (original title: 알려지지 않은 밤과 하루) Writer: Bae Suah (translated by Deborah Smith) Publishing House: Jonathan Cape Date of Publication: January 30th 2020 (first published April 20th 2013) Rating: 5 stars ‘’By the time the heatwave came to an end, nothing remained of the people but ash. They became fused…

The Diving Pool

Title: The Diving Pool and Other Stories (original title: (ダイヴィング・プール) Writer: Yoko Ogawa (translated by Stephen Snyder) Publishing House: Vintage Publishing Date of Publication: April 2nd 2014 (first published 1990) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Since I was a little girl, I’ve disliked the thirtieth of December. I could always get through the thirty-first by telling myself…

Flowers of Mold

Title: Flowers of Mold (original title 옆집 여자) Writer: Ha Seong-Nan (tr. by Janet Hong) Publishing House: Open Letter Date of Publication: April 23rd 2019 (first published 1999) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Teacher, I want to fly, but the ground keeps pulling me down.’’ Korean Literature is rapidly flourishing thanks to a plethora of wonderful women…

Miracle On Cherry Hill

Title: Miracle On Cherry Hill (original title: 뒤뜰에 골칫거리가 산다) Writer: Sun – mi Hwang (translated by Chi-Young Kim) Publishing House: Abacus Date of Publication: July 4th 2019 (first published 2014) Rating: 5 stars ‘’It rained for two days straight. The trees howled in the back garden and angry rain lashed against the windows. Kand…

Fear and Trembling

Title: Fear and Trembling (original title: Stupeur et Tremblements) Writer: Amélie Nothomb (tr. by Adriana Hunter) Publishing House: St. Martin’s Griffin Date of Publication: November 1st 2004 (first published August 26th 1999) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Society conspires against her from early infancy. Her brain is steadily filled with plaster until it sets. ‘’If you’re not…

Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold (original title: コーヒーが冷めないうちに) Writer: Toshikazu Kawaguchi (tr. by Geoffrey Trousselot) Publishing House: Picador Date of Publication: September 19th 2019 (first published December 6th 2015) Rating: 5 stars ‘’The cafe’s name was Funiculi Funicula. It had become famous, with long queues each day, an account of time-travelling. But it wasn’t…

Tokyo Ueno Station

Title:Tokyo Ueno Station (original title: JR上野駅公園口) Writer: Yū Miri (translated by Morgan Giles) Publishing House: Tilted Axis Press Date of Publication: March 4th 2019 (first published March 19th 2014) Rating: 5 stars ‘’I used to think life was like a book: you turn the first page, and there’s the next, and as you go on turning…

Revenge

Title: Revenge (original title: 寡黙な死骸 みだらな弔い) Writer: Yoko Ogawa (tr. by Stephen Snyder) Publishing House: Vintage Date of Publication:  January 2nd 2014 (first published 1998) Rating: 5 stars ‘’Why was everyone dying? They had all been so alive just yesterday.’’ Yoko Ogawa creates a dark wonder of sadness, loneliness and unsettling desires in Revenge, a collection…

Ghosts of the Tsunami: Death and Life in Japan’s Disaster Zone

Title: Ghosts of the Tsunami Writer: Richard Lloyd Parry Publishing House: Jonathan Cape Date of Publication: August 31st 2017 Rating: 5 stars ‘’By the time the party came to an end, it was already becoming cloudy, but there was no wind. Not a single leaf was moving on the trees. I couldn’t sense any life…

Convenience Store Woman

Title: Convenience Store Woman (original title:コンビニ人間) Writer: Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori) Publishing House: Grove Press Date of Publication: June 12th 2018 (first published July 27th 2016) Rating: 5 stars ‘’It is the start of another day, the time when the world wakes up and the cogs of society begin to move. I…

The Mad Kyoto Shoe Swapper and Other Short Stories from Japan

Title: The Mad Kyoto Shoe Swapper and other Short Stories from Japan Writer: Rebecca Otowa Publishing House: Tuttle Publishing Date of Publication: March 24th 2020 Rating: 5 stars ‘’Well, don’t. You’re a foreigner. You have to understand it’s not our business. We don’t interfere. It’s the Japanese way.’’ Thirteen exquisite stories written by an American…

Corazon Aquino (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Corazon Aquino (Little People, Big Dreams) Writer: Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illustrated by Ginnie Hsu Publishing House: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books Date of Publication: August 4th 2020 Rating: 5 stars ‘’One must be frank to be relevant.’’              Corazon Aquino Cory was born in the beautiful Philippines, the country of a Thousand Islands. She loved…

Ms. Ice Sandwich

Title: Ms. Ice Sandwich (original title: ミス・アイスサンドイッチ) Writer: Mieko Kawakami (translated by Louise Heal Kawai) Publishing House: Pushkin Press Date of Publication: May 7th 2020 (first published November 2013) Rating: 5 stars “If video games make you stupid, then what do mobile phones make you?” A young boy buys egg sandwiches every day. The reason? The mysterious young woman behind…