Counterpoint | 9 August 2022 | 240 pgs
Source: Library 
Translated from the Japanese by Asa Yoneda

This is a collection of five short stories about five different women who had walked through the path of grief, heartache and harrowing experiences but all had come out from their journey a different person and onto their ways to recovery.

The first story "House of Ghosts" was a melancholy story about Secchan and Iwakura in which their parents own a restaurant and a pastries shop respectively. Secchan has an interest in carrying on her family's business but Iwakura is the opposite. A chance visit to Iwakura's house leads Secchan to see him in a new light and has evoked much feelings in her especially after she's witnessed the ghosts of an elderly couple who used to live there. This isn't a horror story but one which will lead you into thinking about the simplicity of life and the warmth surrounding the relationship between people. This was one of my favourite stories in this collection. 

The other three stories, "Mama!", "Not Warm at All" and "Tomo-chan’s Happiness" explore the change of each characters after they've encountered some life-altering events which leave emotional scars on the characters but managed to walk out of their nightmares through the help of another person and/or a situation that change their mindset. 

"Dead-End Memories" was another favourite of mine and one which left a deep impression on me. It was a well written story about how Mimi managed to walk out from her heartache after witnessing her fiancé cheated on her. Her acquaintance with Nishiyama and their interactions were the highlight of the story and Nishiyama's free-spirited ways and advice play an important part in Mimi's overall perception of happiness. That ending brought a lump to my throat. 

Although these stories may seem simple and not that intriguing to an extent, the beauty lies in the author's writing and the way she could weave an ordinary day-to-day life stories into something thought-provoking and moving. Happiness, the other theme in this collection, may seem unattainable to some but it's always been there if we decide to pause and reflect on the tiny moments which make us happy. 
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8 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    I've always wanted to try one of Yoshimoto's novels. Have you read any of her other books?

  2. Melody Says:

    Lark - Yes, I think I've read about four of her books so far. My first book by Yoshimoto is "Kitchen" and I remember enjoying it. Maybe you can give that a try one day. :)

  3. Lark Says:

    My library actually has a copy of Kitchen, so that would be a good one for me to start with. Thanks for the rec. :D

  4. Melody Says:

    Lark - No problem, Lark. I hope you enjoy reading it. :D

  5. Iliana Says:

    Oh I must have missed that Banana Yoshimoto had a new book out! I really enjoy her writing and will have to look for this one. Sounds like a delightful collection. I don't read very many short stories but trying to get into them a bit more!

  6. I like these kinds of short stories best. I will have to add this collection to my wish list.

  7. Melody Says:

    Iliana - I don't read many short stories either and I'm glad to have found this collection, especially if they're Banana Yoshimoto’s. 😀

  8. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I hope you'll enjoy this book when you get to it, Wendy.

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