Book review: Strange Weather in Tokyo, By Hiromi Kawakami
Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.
Friday 08 November 2013
With its flying-waitress cover and kooky title, this Japanese novel – shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize – hints at Murakami-style weirdness. Lonely Tsukiko meets her old teacher in a bar.
A slow-burn May-September romance grows. Delicate marks of the passing seasons reveal Kawakami's frank debt to classical Japanese poetry, while the odd couple's shared meals will tickle foodie palates.
An elegiac sense of speeding time, and yawning distance, drizzles the story – sensitively translated by Allison Markin Powell – with a sweet sadness.
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