Days at the Morisaki Bookshop

by Chandra Sundeep
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Cover picture of Days at the Morisaki Bookshop by Satoshi Yagisawa

Satoshi Yagisawa’s Days at the Morisaki Bookshop is a heartwarming story revolving around books, loss, family, and healing. Set in Japan, this profoundly philosophical book is comforting and inspiring. It is like a bowl of hot and sour soup on a wintry evening. Originally written in Japanese, the translation is by Eric Ozawa.

The author has divided the narrative into two segments, with Takako, a woman in her mid-twenties, serving as the central character. While the first segment delves into Takako’s struggles and books, the second segment revolves around complexities of relationships. Takako is devastated when her boyfriend informs her he is marrying someone else. Heartbroken, she resigns from her job and sinks into depression. It is only when she moves into her uncle Satoru’s used books shop; she rediscovers herself. Her aunt Momoko’s reappearance after five years adds a twist to the story.

The author’s magical writing transported me to the street filled with bookstores. Can you believe it the main character lives in a bookstore? Isn’t it every bookworm’s dream come true?!

I loved, loved, loved the setting. The sights and smells are brought to life in this tiny volume. The bookstores lining the quaint lane, the cozy coffee shop, and friends who have known each other for ages contributed to a delightful reading experience.

Takako, Satoru, and Momoku are the main characters, and they are supported by a reasonable number of secondary characteristics. The narrative maintains a brisk pace, albeit with occasional disjointed moments.

Sadly, I couldn’t empathise with Takako. She is passive all throughout and doesn’t have the spark to be the main lead. Satoru, despite his eccentricity, is genuinely charming, with his deep affection for books clearly evident. As for Mamoko, she may be equally unusual, but she possesses a unique history. What stood out to me, however, was her admirable strength and determination.

The story lacks depth, as it is a short novella. But this deficiency is more than made up by the healing power of books.

I listened to an audiobook narrated by Susan Momoko Hingley. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy her narration as much as I wanted to. Her pronounced British accent made it challenging to envision the characters in their authentic setting.

 

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop centers around themes of books, love, family, and self-discovery. It may have its mixed qualities, but it is undoubtedly a worthwhile read.

 

Thanks to NetGalley and Bonnier UK Audio, Manilla Press for the ALC.

 

Wordsopedia Rating 3/5

Title: Days at the Morisaki Bookshop Author: Satoshi Yagisawa
Publisher: Bonnier UK Audio, Manilla Press Publication date: 04 Jul 2023
Genre: Fiction—General Format: Audiobook
ISBN: 9781786583260 No. of Hours: 3 Hours, 11 Minutes

Buy your copy here on Amazon

About the author

Satoshi Yagisawa was born in Chiba, Japan, in 1977. Days at the Morisaki Bookshop is his debut novel.

 

This post is part of Blogchatter’s Half Marathon

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