Book review: The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiromi Kawakami

Finding lesser known authors and their books is one of the reasons I love visiting bookshops on my travels. When you are in Manila please do visit Fully Booked bookshop where I bumped into this fictional treasure.

Nakano thrift shop selling second-hand goods is a microcosm of human stories playing outside on a large scale. All told in voice of Hitomi, the pretty and sort of bored employee the lives of everyone in Mr. Nakano’s shop play out on a very everyday scale. It makes me think of grocery stores or cafes I visit regularly and stories which must be playing out there without me paying any attention to them. But what captivating stories they must be.

All the while very subtlely her life is unfolding as well in a very unassuming way but which is really delightful to the reader. The book is dotted with inimitable characters like Masayo, Takeo and Sakiko.  You could know them personally and yet they are so unique. The level of suspense and anticipation created in everyday events gives the book a very gentle comical feel.

I cannot anymore step into a shop without paying attention to its employees and stories unfolding there. Also, it’s made me greedy to read more contemporary novelists from Japan.

Rating: Delightful 


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