Sunday 8 November 2020

Book Review: Record of a Night Too Brief by Kawakami Hiromi (Contemporary Fiction)

Title: Record of a Night Too Brief
Author: Kawakami Hiromi
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 2017 (1996)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Borrowed from the Library

In these three haunting and lyrical stories, three young women experience unsettling loss and romance.

In a dreamlike adventure, one woman travels through an apparently unending night with a porcelain girlfriend, mist-monsters and villainous monkeys; a sister mourns her invisible brother whom only she can still see, while the rest of her family welcome his would-be wife into their home; and an accident with a snake leads a shop girl to discover the snake-families everyone else seems to be concealing.

Sensual, yearning, and filled with the tricks of memory and grief,
Record of a Night Too Brief is an atmospheric trio of unforgettable tales. 


Record of a Night Too Brief is a surreal collection of three stories that will leave you with more questions than you started with, but which are worth reading on a number of levels, not least for the beautiful, lyrical prose that draws you in despite the fantastical events taking place. The stories are certainly memorable, and I enjoyed the imagery and metaphors Kawakami used to explore her various themes. However, they will not appeal to all readers, and definitely not to those who prefer a clear narrative form and sense of reality to the books they read. But if the surreal nature of the tales does not put you off, there is a lot to admire in this trio of stories, and it is up near the top of my list for Kawakami works I have read so far.

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