Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak

In this haunting, richly woven novel of modern life in Japan, the author of the acclaimed debut One for Sorrow explores the ties that bind humanity across the deepest divides. Here is a Murakamiesque jewel box of intertwined narratives in which the lives of several strangers are gently linked through love, loss, and fate.

On a train filled with quietly sleeping passengers, a young man’s life is forever altered when he is miraculously seen by a blind man. In a quiet town an American teacher who has lost her Japanese lover to death begins to lose her own self. On a remote road amid fallow rice fields, four young friends carefully take their own lives—and in that moment they become almost as one. In a small village a disaffected American teenager stranded in a strange land discovers compassion after an encounter with an enigmatic red fox, and in Tokyo a girl named Love learns the deepest lessons about its true meaning from a coma patient lost in dreams of an affair gone wrong.

From the neon colors of Tokyo, with its game centers and karaoke bars, to the bamboo groves and hidden shrines of the countryside, these souls and others mingle, revealing a profound tale of connection—uncovering the love we share without knowing.

Exquisitely perceptive and deeply affecting, Barzak’s artful storytelling deftly illuminates the inner lives of those attempting to find—or lose—themselves in an often incomprehensible world.

Dear Ana,

In lieu of Dewey letters or writing to the author themselves, I have decided to write a letter directly to the person responsible for me reading this book: Nymeth (Ana). I blame you entirely for this, and the thing is... it's good blame, but it is also bad blame. The truth of the matter is I loved this book! I consider it one of my favourite reads of the year and I think everyone should read it because it is just that good! So, you are probably wondering where the bad part plays in, right? Well, because I think I read this book like six months ago! I didn't know what to say at first, and then I let too much time go by and was really worried I wouldn't do the book justice, and now it has been so long I would have to reread it to make any sense!

So, you see, I feel terrible about this! This is why I need to keep up on my reviews, but that hasn't happened in the history of this blog, so I wouldn't hold my breath! To add to it all, because of you, Ana, I got a signed copy of this book from the author. He is probably wondering if he wasted his time because there was never a review, but he didn't! I promise I loved it and I have recommended it to scores of people, but I just didn't review it... Set in Japan this is the type of book that I wouldn't normally like. It's a lyrical writing style (in my opinion) and I am more of a get to the point in this century type of reader. So, imagine my shock and surprise when I was glued to this book.

Just reading the description above brings me joy. I think back on the great characters and how he materfully weaves all the storylines together. I think about how the beginning about a young boy and a red fox didn't sound very exciting to me, but actually ended up being fantastic! (That's this book, right, Ana?). I think the highest praise I can give this book is to be very simple, so here goes. This is not my kind of book. I loved it, anyways! Barzak has done a brilliant job and I am so sorry it has taken me MONTHS to review this book... You all should read it NOW! You have all the months of my slacking to make up for, so do not delay!

I guess I should say thank you, Ana, for bringing me and this book together! This is also a lesson in not judging an author by one book because I read his other book, too, and it was one of my few DNFs of the year. I just couldn't connect with it. I am going to try again, though!

So, yes, read this book. Also, if you would like to know what this book is about, you should probably read Ana's review! It makes more sense than mine does...

Thanks Ana! Oh, and thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book!


  1. I'm tempted to read it now. Thanks for this!

  2. This sounds like an awesome book, Kelly. I love it when a book surprises me, when I'm not sure it's really for me and then I end up loving it.

  3. A letter for meeeee?! I actually had forgotten you hadn't reviewed this one, probably because I remember you saying how much you loved it on Twitter. You posted about it now, though! I'm really really glad that I introduced you to a book you now love. That's what blogging's all about :P

  4. I loved this book too! And (hangs head in shame) it's one of the reviews I still haven't written. I seriously need to get this review writing asap under control.

  5. Ah I like this review format! And, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who falls very behind on reviews :)

    I don't remember reading about this one on Nymeth's blog but then again she recommends so many good books I practically write all of them down!

  6. I have a few six month old reviews to write too...but not for reasons as good as yours! I still need to read this!

  7. Alice: I hope you do read it. I loved it!

    Wendy: It was fantastic! Worth checking out!

    Ana: I know, I told everyone I loved it when I read it and then didn't review it...

    Joanne: I need to get review writing under control, too!

    Iliana: I am always very very far behind on reviews! She had good things to say about it. :)

    Amy: It's a good book! And, you are busy, so of course you have good reasons to be behind on reviews. :)

  8. Loved your words about this because I find myself in the exact same boat. I won a copy from Ana and received my signed copy from the author. But I have yet to read it. I think this is one that I'm going to try to get to during the 24 hour RAT.

  9. Staci: This book would be good for the read-a-thon!

  10. I added this book to my TBR after reading ASna's review. Good to see that you enjoyed it as well!


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