|(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)|
Set in an imagined town outside Tokyo, Clarissa Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut follows a young man’s path to self-discovery in the wake of his sister’s murder.
Ren Ishida has nearly completed his graduate degree at Keio University when he receives news of his sister’s violent death. Keiko was stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate place years ago.
But then Ren is offered Keiko’s newly vacant teaching position at a prestigious local cram school and her bizarre former arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s ailing wife. He accepts both, abandoning Tokyo and his crumbling relationship there in order to better understand his sister’s life and what took place the night of her death.
A quiet and compelling story that mixes mystery with magical realism, Rainbirds is a must-read! I absolutely loved getting lost in Goenawan's lyrical prose - it was beautiful, sparse, and moody. It fit perfectly with this thoughtful story about a brother's grief over the loss of his older sister. The descriptions of everyday life and the flashbacks provided a layered depth to the story. I found myself unable to stop reading. I just loved learning about Ren and his sister Keiko - they both intrigued me with their sense of loneliness - it just seemed to haunt them wherever they went. Plus, its set in Japan and you know I love a story set in Japan - so this book was a win-win for me from the start. I just loved it so much.
Ren is in Akakawa tending to his sister's funerary arrangements following her death. She's been murdered and no one knows why. He is keen on figuring out what happened, why she was killed and whodunit. Whilst in this sleepy, small town he finds himself stepping into his sister's shoes - he takes her job, he moves into her room, and he befriends her friends. Ren is following in her footsteps in an attempt to learn about Keiko's life - to find out why she chose to live in such an unknown town, why she left him and their family all those years ago. Of course, the more he learns, the less he likes the answers he finds. And that is all I will write about this wonderful novel. Oh, and just so you know, your questions will be answered.
Rainbirds is an amazing debut novel that explores family, love, loss, and loneliness. The writing is top notch. The characters are unforgettable. And the story is unputdownable. This is a novel you will fall in love with. I would happily recommend it to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read.
Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Rainbirds