Monday, November 14, 2011

REVIEW: BOOK GIRL by Mizuki Nomura


This title really grabbed me when I saw it in the Manga section, after all I'm a book girl :) This is a Japanese "light" novel. Filled with some gorgeous illustrations of the characters. This edition is subtitled " The suicidal Mime". We are introduced to High School students Konoha Inoue and Tohko Amano a gorgeous young girl who our protagonist develops romantic feelings for. Amano however isn't a typical girl, she is in fact a Demon, a Demon who eats books.

The two are the only members of the literature club. Amano  spends her day digesting the literary and culinary aspects of books. She also bully's Konoha into writing her the occasional poem or short story. Konoha has a difficult relationship with writing. A few years ago he published a celebrated fiction manuscript written under the pseudonym of a young girl. The celebrity lead to tremendous stress for himself and his family so much so he hasn't published anything since.

Amano has no sympathy for his emotions. She craves exciting reads so she has set up a mailbox advertising Konoha's services for writing love letters. When a young woman comes asking for a letter for her crush, a series of events unfold that reveal a suicide from years past and the true motives of their client.

Though translated into English there, is a wonderful subtlety and foreignness to this novel. Guilt, love and shame are intense emotions that consume some so much that suicide seems to be the only release. When I began reading Manga and light novels I was very surprised to see the prevalence of suicide themes in many stories it is a true problem among the Japanese people. This novel handles the subject in a delicate and life affirming way. I really was caught up in the characters lives and was enthralled to the very end. A wonderful volume to get acquainted with this series and the world of Japanese fiction.


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