In this love story, awarded with the Tanizaki prize, it is reflected the need to love of two lonely characters
What's it about?
"The Briefcase" is a book by one of the most awarded Japanese authors today, Hiromi Kawakami. The story tells the life of Tsukiko Omachi, a woman who is almost 40 years old and who lives a lonely routine: works in an office, visits places alone, eats and drinks without company. One day while she is eating "tuna with fermented soybeans, sautéed lotus root and salted shallot" in a tavern near his place of residence, she meets his school teacher named Harutsuna Matsumoto. From that moment and by chance the protagonists begin to find each other more and more, and, through the different encounters, the development of the relationship between both characters can be evidenced.
From ecologic trips, visits to the market, trips to islands or picnics, Tsukiko and the teacher Harutsuna will develop a connection full of unrecognized feelings, but of long talks where the teacher will give great lessons to Tsukiko. This love story should not be confused with the stories projected in manga or in anime. In this love story you can probably reflect situations of real life, because in their development are two lonely people willing to love, to understand each other, but without rushing things and always ready for one to be comfortable with the other.
Who wrote it?
Hiromi Kawakami is a Japanese writer born in Tokyo, Japan. She studied Biology at the Ochanomizu University. Her first book of short stories, entitled "Kamisama" (God), was published in 1994. In 1996 she published the book "Hebi wo fumu" (Tread on a Snake) and would receive the most prestigious literary prize in Japan: the Akutagawa prize. Later, in the year 2000 she published "Oboreru" (Drown), a novel that granted her the Ito Sei and Woman's Writer's awards. In 2001 she published "Sensei no kaban" (The Briefcase), one of her most popular novels and the one that earned her the Tanizaki award and the Man Asian Literary Prize
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"The Briefcase" is one of the first novels to be translated into Spanish, thanks to the editorial Artilugio. Also, the story was transferred to the big screen in a version for Japanese cinema. On the other hand, Kawakami, in an interview with Irish Times, said that one of the books that changed her perspective about fiction was "One Hundred Years of Solitude" by the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez.
Read or pass?
Beyond the awards given to the novel, this book is perfect to understand and learn more about literature and Japanese culture. Kawakami is characterized by describing very well the situations and the context in which the events take place. It is gratifying to be able to imagine what is happening thanks to the attention and the level of detail which, fortunately, was not lost in the translation into Spanish.
In addition to that, the characterization of the characters, the story and the narrative structure, which is simple but direct, mean that each time a chapter ends, we want to continue reading more about this unconventional love story.
LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz
Translated from "Latam BookLook: "El cielo es azul, la tierra es blanca" de Hiromi Kawakami"