Book Review: What You Are Looking For Is in the Library, by Michiko Aoyama
Five yearning Tokyo readers get life advice with their borrowed volumes in Michiko Aoyamas What You Are Looking For Is in the Library.
WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR IS IN THE LIBRARY, by Michiko Aoyama. Translated by Alison Watts.
Here is a novel about the bone-deep thrill of things working out.
What You Are Looking For Is in the Library is the first of Michiko Aoyamas many novels, originally written in Japanese, to be published in the United States. Its five narrators, men and women, range from the newly adult to the newly retired. The links between their lives are thin but strong, and the web that emerges between them, in Aoyamas imagined Hatori ward of Tokyo, vibrates with the coincidence and interdependence of urban life.
The novels translator, Alison Watts, faithfully shepherds into English a cast of characters who are wonderfully wide open: smart and searching, but not trying to impress. The prose is diaristic and hyper-casual the tone of much contemporary Japanese fiction.
It was a shock, 65-year-old Masao reports, when New Year came after I retired, and I received none of the usual cards or end-of-year gifts. I was shaken to realize that all my relationships had been business ones, and that I had no real friends after all, not even somebody to drink tea with.