A Touch of Oddness
This book was an odd ride - you keep reading because you want to know more, but at the same time, you struggle to make sense of what is happening. In the book People from my Neighbourhood*, you are introduced to, as the title gives away, people from one neighbourhood. Their stories span across decades, are interconnected, and told in short stories. The thing about this neighbourhood is that things are far from normal, but the author introduces these abnormalities like they are normalities - whether it is a no-gravity storm, a school made out of candy, or rooms growing in size when someone holding a certain emotion enters them.
I tried to figure out whether all these oddities were metaphors for something, but I could not come up with something and the internet was none the wiser. I guess maybe that is not what they are meant as. Kawakami uses her short stories to point to topics that hold importance in our normal world, such as loneliness and marginalisation. But I feel like the book is more successful in giving you a little escape than in dissecting these topics.
It feels more like the topics are merely touched upon, but not dissected. The book is, in the end, merely an introduction to the neighbourhood. The reader gets a little short story about the different members of the neighbourhood and it is up to the reader to make up their mind about them. I mainly read this book on the train and it is honestly great read between a few stops and gives you a little magical world to escape into. It was a really interesting read, but I still wonder whether there was a deeper meaning to it that I failed to catch.
If you have read it and have a take on it, I would love to hear it :) You can always drop me a message here.
And if you are thinking about buying the book: I can recommend it if you have to commute somewhere as it gives you a little world to escape into while riding the train.
Lots of Love,
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The background picture for the title picture is licensed through Adobe Stock.