Book Reviews

Book Review – Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

Thank you to Tandem Collective and Granta books for a copy of Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami.

This was a short but heartwarming read, it took me a little longer than planned to finish though. The characters and their relationship are explored and developed throughout the book. I think i would have liked to see some og the story from Sensei’s perspective, to see both sides of the relationship. In a way it was nice to leave it unknown, and it gave it bit of a ‘will they, won’t they vibe.

This book is a romance and it’s very different to the romance I’ve read recently, it was actually quite refreshing. The book shows that relationships do not need to be physical to develop. It may be indicative of society in Japan. A relationship built on trust and respect rather than a physical intimacy. I loved the immersion of the Japanese culture through the book, through the food and drink they eat, descriptions of their homes and the cherry blossom season.

This month is Women in Translation Month (WiT month). WiT month celebrates women writers from around the world, who get the works translated into other languages, and in a way the translators. Translating a book is not something I have thought much about in the past, so I wanted to do a little bit of research on this.

Honestly, I imagined it was fairly simple to do, but did discover i was wrong about that. Yes, you can translate a book word for word a la google translate but then it loses meaning, structure and very likely the story is lost in the process. You need to capture the humour and nuances from the original language and put that into a second language, and encapsulate the same meaning behind the words and story. In way, the story is being rewritten.

Kawakami, created wonderful characters and a wonderful story, and I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it without the work Allison Markin Powell put in translating this to the English language.

I enjoyed delving a little deeper to write this review. I hope you enjoyed it as well.

And as always stay safe and happy reading. Lou x 

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