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As Kenzaburo Oe has remarked, Takashi Hiraide's work "really shines". His poetry, which is remarkably cross-hatched with beauty, has been acclaimed here for "its seemingly endless string of shape-shifting objects and experiences, whose splintering effect is enacted via a unique combination of speed and minutiae".
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By Sara on 06-29-17
A Novel As Poetry
I loved this deceptively simple story which was beautifully written and seamlessly translated from the original Japanese. There was a gentle flow in the writing which could have been so easily overwhelmed by the wrong choice in narrators. Thankfully, this wasn't the case with this book. The narration was beautifully done and really captured the subtle nuances of the writing.
The cultural contrast between a life lived in Tokyo verses life in America are at first fascinating in terms of the differences presented. Then as the book continues the story bridges these differences with the universal idea of life as an exploration of beauty and connection. The writing explores love, loss, connection, and most of all communication. I particularly enjoyed the way architecture, light, insects, animals, and gardens all played key roles in the storytelling.
To me, this was a tender and lovingly written window into another world and way of living. Poetic and thoughtful.
22 of 26 people found this review helpful
By Jean on 06-16-17
This story takes place in Japan in the 1980s. The couple, one a freelance writer the other a proof-reader and editor, work from home. Over time communication decreases between them as they are involved in their solitary work. One day a neighbor’s cat wanders into their home. Chibi begins to make regular visits to them. The cat brings them small pleasures that allow them to reconnect with each other.
The book is extremely well written. It is short only three and a half hours long (140 pages). The style of the writing and the story is Japanese. The translation of the book from Japanese to English appears to be excellent. Unless the reader has had exposures to Japanese writing, it might be difficult to totally enjoy the subtle parts of the story. Characteristic of Japanese writing the philosophical passages and literary reference are quite simple and sparse. The descriptions are beautiful and even lyrical; the vivid prose keeps everything flowing. The prose is focused on the people and places not the events. The cat, Chibi, is the center of the narrative. Typical of a Japanese story the simplicity belies a depth that is executed in a subtle way. I thoroughly enjoyed this gentle, thoughtful and subtly profound work. The author, Takashi Hiraide, is a Japanese poet.
David Smith does a good job narrating the story. Smith is a voice over artist and audiobook narrator.
5 of 7 people found this review helpful