I have been sitting on this book and then the review for a while. I must start off by saying that the book was not for me, but I worked my way to the end. This last part means I should talk about what I liked and disliked, unlike a book that I did not finish (which also happens infrequently enough).
This is a big book, especially given its content. It started off with an interesting premise. We have an aged Japanese man who has more facets than his appearance would let others believe. There has been a big disaster in the country, and that his him taking a train of thought into all that it means to be alive and to survive tragedies. As flashbacks, we are given an utterly detailed-filled tour of four old relationships he had with different women in different parts of the world. Each is narrated in the woman’s voice, which did nothing to improve either party in my eyes. The women were three-dimensional but came off as the injured party in some form or the other because the man in the narrative moves on much more quickly!
It was a winding storyline, and I did not appreciate the content. Then, in between, we come back to Mr Watanabe, who is questioning his own mortality and how that thought has haunted him throughout his life. There was a point to the entire book hidden somewhere, although I did not grasp it.
The translation is seamless. I did not realise I was reading a translated book until the very end. If it was shorter, or I felt there was some sort of resolution in the entire thing, I might have liked it. I read the whole thing with that hope but was disappointed. I did get to know important points in International history, which were littered as crucial goalposts to our leading man’s life changes.
If you have the time and like the idea of living in many different countries through time, this book might just work for you!
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.