Sunday 11 October 2020

Book Review: Ms Ice Sandwich by Kawakami Mieko (Contemporary Fiction)

Title: Ms Ice Sandwich
Author: Kawakami Mieko
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 2017 (2013)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Borrowed from the Library

Ms Ice Sandwich seems to lack social graces, but our young narrator is totally smitten with her. He is in awe of her aloofness, her skill at slipping sandwiches into bags, and, most electric of all, her ice-blue eyelids. Every day he is drawn to the supermarket just to watch her in action. But life has a way of interfering – there is his mother, forever distracted, who can tell the fortunes of women; his grandmother, silently dying, who listens to his heart; and his classmate, Tutti, no stranger to pain, who shares her private thrilling world with him.

Tender, warm, yet unsentimental,
Ms Ice Sandwich is a story about new starts, parents who have departed, and the importance of saying goodbye. 


Ms Ice Sandwich is another excellent work by Kawakami Mieko. One of the things I love about contemporary Japanese fiction is its contemplative nature, and this book is no exception. It's a thoughtful work, but also a sweet and engaging one. Kawakami's young male narrator is a joy. I loved seeing the world through his eyes and following his journey of self-discovery. Although this work is short, at just 92 pages, it offers plenty of fodder for thought and is a hopeful piece that leaves you feeling more lighthearted. The prose flows seamlessly, suggesting a sensitive translation, and due to it's short page count, this is a book you can breeze through in a single sitting.

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