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Monday 28 March 2022

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina


I feel a bit guilty that I didn't enjoy this as much as I feel I ought to have.

The pivot of the story is the 2011 tsunami in Japan and the grief from the appalling loss of life is what does a lot of the heavy lifting. The author writes articulately and with poignancy and compassion in that regard. No problem there.

It's very well written with depth and empathy and unusually, the translation is extremely competent. It's a shame, however, that neither the translator nor the editor know the difference between 'less' and 'few'. Ah well, it was the only blip.

It's sad but heart-warming and really quite charming in some ways. Alas, I got a bit…bored with the two main characters, Yui and Takeshi, both of whom are mourning the deaths of their loved ones, who meet at the site of the disused phone box. I just couldn't drum up interest in the pair's journey to recovery or in the development of their relationship.

It wasn't a book I was in a rush to pick up and finish, but I'm not a DNF person. I was rather miffed to find a glossary at the end: all those Japanese words and phrases explained. It would have been much more useful to either have them at the beginning, or at least refer to their location at the start.

A different read. Just a bit so-so.

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