‘The Nakano Thrift Shop’ by Hiromi Kawakami


Genre: Fiction

My review of this book on ABC’s radio program ‘Overnight’ was published on 18/11/16 for anyone interested in the full review shoot me an email.

Thrift shops, op shops, second-hand shops; call them what you like, these stores have a special quality to them in that every item tells a story and unexpected gems can be found in every corner.

In preparation for my upcoming trip to Japan, I’ve devised a reading list of good Japanese authors and books and this book is my first. This book tells the story of the happenings and adventures of a small thrift shop in the heart of Tokyo. It is told from the perspective of Hitomi, a young and intelligent girl who sees the world through rose-coloured glasses. This book reads like a television sitcom- think of Friends with a Japanese twist and each chapter is like a new episode. There’s Hitomi, Mr Nakono (the owner), Masayo (the owner’s eccentric sister), Takeo (the cute co-worker) and a myriad of Mr Nakono’s mistresses. I love translated books because I feel words are never wasted and this is no exception. It is fascinating to read about the everyday lives of normal Japanese people but with the dash of Seinfeld humour threaded through.


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