Give me books, fruit, french wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors. --John Keats
Monday, June 6, 2016
"Strangers" by Taichi Yamada
An odd little book. It was clear from the beginning (actually from before the beginning, as it was mentioned on both the front and back covers) that this was a ghost story, and I think I might have appreciated it more if I'd come to that realization myself as I read. Despite praise by David Mitchell and Bret Easton Ellis, the writing did not blow me away; however, the story was compelling enough to be enjoyable.
Narrated by Hideo Harada, a middle-aged, recently divorced screenwriter in Tokyo, the story begins by underlining his isolation. He lives in an apartment building that is mainly rented out as office space, so the majority of it is uninhabited at night. He meets one of the only other twenty-four hour residents, a woman named Kai, and begins to build a relationship with her, but one day he is drawn back to the place of his childhood, Asakusa. And there he sees his mother and father, which would be lovely, except for the fact that they died when he was twelve years old . . .