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Summary

When Hitomi takes a job on the cash register of a neighbourhood thrift store, she finds herself drawn into a very idiosyncratic community. There is Mr Nakano, an enigmatic ladies' man with several ex-wives; Masayo, Mr Nakano's sister, an artist who has never married; and her fellow employee Takeo, a shy but charming young man.

Every day, customers from the neighbourhood pass in and out as curios are bought and sold, each one containing its own surprising story. When Hitomi and Takeo begin to fall for one another, they find themselves in the centre of their own drama - and on the edges of many others.

A tender and affecting exploration of the mystery that lurks in the ordinary, this novel traces the seemingly imperceptible threads that weave together a community, and the knots that bind us to one another.

©2016 Hiromi Kawakami (P)2017 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Too arty and contrived

Its all meaningful silences interspersed with conversations about sex. The relationships and interactions don’t ring true, and as such aren’t particularly interesting. There is a oddly detached shop owner, a shop assistant in a not particularly convincing, non relationship with one of the other employees and an elder shop assistant who acts as a sort of second rate Confucius dishing out suitably ambiguous ‘advice’.

I guess the reader is supposed to feel enchanted, intrigued and enlightened. I just felt disappointed.

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Interesting & a bit frustrating

A gentle coming of age romance. The Japanese setting is quite different from similar English 'chick lit' & that is what I enjoyed most. The characters are vivid & often interesting. I never really got a sense of who Hitomi, the protagonist, is, and I found her romance unconvincing and unsatisfying. Glad I read it overall. The reader did a good job, trying to show differences in characters backgrounds by giving them English regional accents. It more or less worked & her voice is very pleasant in both timbre and pacing. Occasionally it jarred when a character expressed a very Japanese sentiment or opinion in a received BBC voice.