Book Review: The Ten Loves of Nishino by Kawakami Hiromi

Ten short stories loosely knit together. Ten Japanese women of different age and origin or social background tell their experiences of their love life with Nishino Yukihiko.

All women have known him in a different time of his life. Every woman describes him from a different angle, but all have one thing in common: they love him, but the love cannot last because Nishino is not faithful. Always torn between at least two women. Although he seems a perfect lover, he will stay not forever.

The tone is light and poetic. Each woman speaks with a melody of love in her voice. In the beginning it is unclear why no woman stays with him. He is a mystery. Each story is a glance at Nishino from a different perspective.

The book is short, and the reading is easy. Kawakami Hiromi is only scratching on the surface. The storytelling mirrors the superficial relationship with each woman. During the events Nishino is living through a development of his character. The reasons why Nishino is unable to love become apparent to the reader.

“The Ten Loves of Nishino” is an early work of Kawakami. I like the concept of getting to know a character by different persons. The stories are interesting to read and in the end the secret of the tragic of his life unravels before your eyes.

Reviewed Title
川上弘美. ニシノユキヒコの恋と冒険2003.
Kawakami Hiromi. The Ten Loves of Nishino. Translated by Allison Markin Powell. 2019. Europa Editions (cover).

More reviews of Kawakami Hiromi’s books on this blog
The Briefcase
The Nakano Thrift Shop
A Record of a Night Too Brief