The Nakano Thrift shop by Hiromi Kawakami
It was my first time reading Japanese literature, something other than Murakami. And the experience of having read them was poles apart; where one leaves you with immense number of questions and musings, the other leaves a likeable fragrance afterwords.
Hitomi and Takeo are employees at a thrift store run by Mr. Nakano. The stories that follow are unusual which demonstrate a certain kind of love or tell a tale about the objects from this thrift shop. Amidst the buzz of selling these objects and going about the day in a thrift store are some budding friendships, blossoming love, heartbreaks, string of emotions and a bout of heavy memorabilia. There are very small things which will catch your eye in the book and amuse you. I loved the last chapter where the close knit work family sits together and jokes around about the bygone days in good humour. Very seldom do we meet such people but when we read about such togetherness a lot, it only fills us with hope.
The writing is smooth and flows at a constant pace. Non-monotonous with interesting and inquisitive characters and apt chapter names for a thrift shop present the book very well. Bits of humour enliven the reading atmosphere. With no major qualms as such, I just felt that it could have been a shorter book, if some part of the narrative was condensed. It would have made it more crisp. Nonetheless, it is a book of delight and one to enjoy. Looking out for Strange weather in Tokyo now.
Make it your next vacation book, and you won’t regret.