Book review: The Nakano Thrift Shop

HIROMI KAWAKANI is one of Japan’s most popular contemporary novelists and, thanks to Allison Markin Powell’s translation, we get to enjoy this meandering and innocent novel. 

Hiromi Kawakani

Portobello Books, £12.99;

ebook, £8.54

Kawakani’s tales of a small Japanese thrift shop, where Hitomi works on the till, form a collection of short stories, each one centred around an item from the shop.

The delightful nature of the story comes from the magic of the ordinary and the everyday goings on in the shop owned by the enigmatic Mr Nakano.

Through Hitomi’s cautious, watching eyes, we see a relationship grow between herself and Takeo, a seemingly straightforward young man, who is more affected by the 30-something ‘girl’ than even he is aware.

This book is a definite slow burn, but totally worth the perseverance.

The glimpse it offers into the relationships between families and friends in Japan results in a tenderly handled mystery and a fractured love story.


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