Author(s): Hiromi Kawakami
When Hitomi takes a job on the cash register of a neighbourhood thrift store, she finds herself drawn into a very idiosyncratic community. There is Mr Nakano, an enigmatic ladies' man with several ex-wives; Masayo, Mr Nakano's sister, an artist who has never married; and her fellow employee Takeo, a shy but charming young man. Every day, customers from the neighbourhood pass in and out as curios are bought and sold, each one containing its own surprising story. When Hitomi and Takeo begin to fall for one another, they find themselves in the centre of their own drama - and on the edges of many others. A tender and affecting exploration of the mystery that lurks in the ordinary, this novel traces the seemingly imperceptible threads that weave together a community, and the knots that bind us to one another.
From the author of Strange Weather in Tokyo, a novel about a second-hand shop in Tokyo and the community surrounding it: employees and customers, treasure hoarders and secret-seekers, bargain-hunters and would-be lovers
Born in 1959 in Tokyo, HIROMI KAWAKAMI is one of Japan's most popular contemporary novelists, famous for her literary, off-beat fiction. She made her debut with the short story 'God Bless You' in 1994, which received the Bunkamura Prix des Deux Magots and the Murasakishikibu Literature Award. Hebi wo fumu [Tread on a Snake] won the Akutagawa Prize in 1996 and Oboreru [Drowning] won both the Ito Sei Literature Award and Joryu Bungaku Sho (Woman Writers' Prize) in 2000. Her novel Manazuru won the 2011 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize. ALLISON MARKIN POWELL is a literary translator and editor in New York City. Her translations include works by Osamu Dazai, Fuminori Nakamura, and Kanako Nishi, and she was the guest editor for the first Japan issue of Words Without Borders. She maintains the database, Japanese Literature in English, at http://www.japaneseliteratureinenglish.com.