Book Review

The Nakano Thrift Shop – Hiromi Kawakami

Book Title: The Nakano Thrift Shop


Author: Hiromi Kawakami (Allison Markin Powell – Translator)

Goodreads Link: Click here


Star Rating: gold stargold stargold star  gold starempty star– Lovely, gentle slice-of-life

Disclaimer: I received this book free from Edelweiss in return for an un-biased review.

The Nakano Thrift Shop is a small, cluttered, quasi-antique store. The owner is an odd duck, which is fitting as so are the customers, and the items they bring in to buy and sell. The main character is a young woman, Hitomi, on the verge of 30, a little lost and a little in love. In love with the shop, with the funny owner, with the cheap items she sells, with the customers and the quirky artists who wander in and out. Most of all, she is in love with a young man, Takeo, who works alongside her in the store. He is a lost soul too. Neither of them has much direction in life and somehow they’ve washed up on the shores of the Thrift Shop. To some degree they recognize each other as a kindred spirit, but as it goes in real life, feeling the connection is not the same as communicating the connection. Sometimes, it’s hard even communicating the depth of it to yourself, and Hitomi is puzzled by her attraction to the quiet, withdrawn Takeo.  They have trouble making themselves clear with one another.

The genre for this book would be a slice-of-life. It’s something you see more frequently in Japanese entertainment. People familiar with anime and manga will understand what I’m talking about. There are no big plot twists, no huge melodrama. The drama is what you find in normal life. It is tender and sweet. The books charm is in it’s quietly observational style. People and items wander in and out of the store. You can easily picture yourself sitting on a tall stool in the shop, watching the dust motes dance in the sunlight, listening to the employees chat with one another, hoping Hitomi and Takeo will figure things out between them. It’s a book to unwind to. I’m very glad it’s been translated and published here in America.

Song for this book: Mou Sukoshi by Atsumi Saori (an old favorite from my anime watching days)



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