This is a warm invitation to read more Japanese literature! Looking for a soft place to land after a quarter-life crisis, Takako moves into the room above her uncle's secondhand bookshop in Tokyo's famous bookstore neighborhood. Throughout the next year, she falls in love with literature, meets interesting characters, reconnects with her uncle, and begins to venture out into life again. This brief but lovely book has a wonderful atmospheric calm and beautiful descriptions. The short, episodic chapters are perfect for reading either back-to-back, or a few pages at a time. Like Takako, this book interested me in Japanese literature more widely. — Melanie, Snail Readers Circle— From Readers Circle Recommendations
July 2023 Indie Next List
“A charming book about the restorative powers of book communities and family. Takako’s uncle invites her to help run the family bookshop, where she makes new friends, learns how different love can look, and reconnects with family.”
— Holly Nikodem, Kew & Willow Books, Kew Gardens, NY
The wise and charming international bestseller and hit Japanese movie—about a young woman who loses everything but finds herself—a tale of new beginnings, romantic and family relationships, and the comfort that can be found in books.
Twenty-five-year-old Takako has enjoyed a relatively easy existence—until the day her boyfriend Hideaki, the man she expected to wed, casually announces he’s been cheating on her and is marrying the other woman. Suddenly, Takako’s life is in freefall. She loses her job, her friends, and her acquaintances, and spirals into a deep depression. In the depths of her despair, she receives a call from her distant uncle Satoru.
An unusual man who has always pursued something of an unconventional life, especially after his wife Momoko left him out of the blue five years earlier, Satoru runs a second-hand bookshop in Jimbocho, Tokyo’s famous book district. Takako once looked down upon Satoru’s life. Now, she reluctantly accepts his offer of the tiny room above the bookshop rent-free in exchange for helping out at the store. The move is temporary, until she can get back on her feet. But in the months that follow, Takako surprises herself when she develops a passion for Japanese literature, becomes a regular at a local coffee shop where she makes new friends, and eventually meets a young editor from a nearby publishing house who’s going through his own messy breakup.
But just as she begins to find joy again, Hideaki reappears, forcing Takako to rely once again on her uncle, whose own life has begun to unravel. Together, these seeming opposites work to understand each other and themselves as they continue to share the wisdom they’ve gained in the bookshop.
Translated By Eric Ozawa
About the Author
Satoshi Yagisawa was born in Chiba, Japan, in 1977. Days at the Morisaki Bookshop, his debut novel, was originally published in 2009 and won the Chiyoda Literature Prize.
“Ozawa’s translation gracefully captures the author’s whimsical and tender voice. Yagisawa has the right touch for lifting a reader’s mood.” — Publishers Weekly
"The unadorned simplicity of Takako's voice is anything but subtle, but it's somehow winning in its guilelessness . . . . Days at the Morisaki Bookshop draws a strong connection between the empathy unleashed by great literature and Takako's growing sense of self-confidence and well-being." — NPR
"The book’s vibe makes it pleasant company for an afternoon in the park with a snack." — Los Angeles Times
"Yagisawa’s prose is clean and direct even as he describes the Morisaki Bookshop and the city that surrounds it with extraordinary care and detail. The characters are also compelling, but it is really the setting and the atmosphere that stand out in this novel. Readers will want to linger in this world. They will want more when this concise tale ends." — Booklist
"Ozawa's translation preserves the drollness and buoyancy of Takako’s first-person narrative of small pleasures and mysteries. A familiar romance about books and bookstores, told with heart and humor." — Kirkus Reviews
"A slender book, but one rich in experience, exactly like the tiny, crammed Morisaki bookshop itself." — New York Journal of Books
"Steeped in the ambience of a used bookstore as it is in the culture of reading." — Yahoo News
"Thought-provoking, sincere, and honest." — The Uncorked Librarian