Friday, July 7, 2017

The Nakano Thrift Shop

The Nakano Thrift Shop / Hiromi Kawakami, trans. Allison Markin Powell, 229 pp.

Hitomi, a young, slightly naive woman, works at the Nakano Thrift Shop along with the owner, Mr. Nakano, his sister, Masayo, and Takeo, the young deliveryman and clerk.  The group gossips, drinks tea and eats noodles together, yet they seem to mis-communicate with one another more often than not.  Hitomi and Takeo giggle at Mr. Nakano's frequent trips to "the bank," which is their code for Love Hotel, but when they begin a relationship themselves, things get complicated.

A simple, sweet and sad story written in one of the oddest prose styles I've encountered.  The characters speak in half sentences, and never quite say what they mean.  Much of the action centers around objects bought or sold at the shop. Mr. Nakano in particular is mysterious, with his shaved head and pompom hat, his cigarettes and his mistresses, but also quite funny.  I scratched my head in confusion throughout the entire novel, and yet I was reluctant to leave the shop when finished.

No comments:

Post a Comment