Book Review: Manazuru by Kawakami Hiromi

manazuruThis morning I just finished reading Manazuru and it has a surprising and beautiful end. Manazuru is a very touching and meaningful novel about love and letting go, about the cycle of live.

Kawakami Hiromi takes you on a journey to Manazuru and the inner life of the writer Kei. She is working through a process of grief and is saying goodbye to her haunting memories of her relationship with her husband Rei.

He has left her ten years ago without saying a word. One day he did not come back and Kei had no clue about his reason and whereabouts.

The present story is told from Kei’s perspective. A woman in her early thirties living with her eight-year old daughter Momo and her mother in Tokyo. Her life went on after the disappearance of Rei. She even found a new lover, but she never could forget her husband — although it has been so many years.  Because he left her without a reason and no trace, it was impossible for Rei to let him go emotionally.

One day she is drawn to Manazuru, a place nearby the sea. A mysterious inner wish has taken her to go there and she hopes to find an answer of the past with Rei. This journey brings her some meaningful answers. Kawakami Hiromi tells the story of Kei  in a vivid, surprising and even sometimes funny way. It is easy to read and if you are grieving or not she brings lightness to you. Her thoughts about love and relationships are very deep and touching.

I liked Manazuru very much. If you have read other novels like The Briefcase or The Nakano Thrift Store with delight, I am sure you will love this one too.

川上 弘美. 真鶴. 2006. Kawakami Hiromi: Manazuru, 2010. Translated by Michael Emmerich.

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