cover image Days at the Morisaki Bookshop

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop

Satoshi Yagisawa, trans. from the Japanese by Eric Ozawa. HarperPerennial, $16.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-0-06-327867-7

Yagisawa’s endearing English-language debut pays tribute to the power of books, family, and friendship. Takako, 25, has a comfortable office job in Tokyo and is happily partnered with her long-term boyfriend, Hideaki, until he suddenly and nonchalantly breaks up with her to marry another woman he’d been seeing for two years. Takako spirals into a deep depression, quitting her job and refusing to leave her apartment for a month. Then, her uncle Satoru calls to check up on her, inviting her to live and work at his bookshop in Jimbocho for as long as she needs to recover. In this quaint district, Takako renews her love of reading and befriends a bookshop regular and workers at the local café. Most importantly, she bonds with Satoru, whose wife, Momoko, left him five years earlier. Takako feels she is finally turning a new leaf, but after Hideaki leaves Takako a voice mail and Momoko unexpectedly returns to Satoru, the niece and uncle’s friendship is tested, setting the stage for a poignant conclusion. Though there’s a bit too much exposition, Ozawa’s translation gracefully captures the author’s whimsical and tender voice. Yagisawa has the right touch for lifting a reader’s mood. (July)