cover image Colorful


Eto Mori, trans. from the Japanese by Jocelyne Allen. Counterpoint, $16.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-64009-442-0

A bestseller in Japan after its 1998 publication, Mori’s philosophically uplifting coming-of-age tale begins as a formless soul is intercepted by an angel, informed that they’ve done something that would ordinarily preclude reincarnation, and offered a second chance. If this recently deceased soul occupies someone else’s body for a time and learns from its mistakes, it will have the opportunity to regain its memories and reenter the cycle of rebirth. The body in question is that of 14-year-old Makoto Kobayashi, who has recently attempted suicide, is friendless, and is despised by his family. But Makoto thrives when creating works of art, and the soul, too, soon uses drawing and painting as a way to connect with its host and those around him. Themes of gratitude and the acceptance—and even celebration—of human imperfections guide the soul’s journey back to itself as it learns the value of, among other things, recognizing one’s parents as complicated, flawed individuals. Mori’s novel is both life-affirming and, in Allen’s translation, quietly funny, offering readers a timeless perspective on human connections. (July)