Author: Miura Shion
Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publication Date: 2 November 2021 (2009)
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Yuki Hirano is just out of high school when his parents enroll him, against his will, in a forestry training program in the remote mountain village of Kamusari. No phone, no internet, no shopping. Just a small, inviting community where the most common expression is “take it easy.”
At first, Yuki is exhausted, fumbles with the tools, asks silly questions, and feels like an outcast. Kamusari is the last place a city boy from Yokohama wants to spend a year of his life. But as resistant as he might be, the scent of the cedars and the staggering beauty of the region have a pull.
Yuki learns to fell trees and plant saplings. He begins to embrace local festivals, he’s mesmerized by legends of the mountain, and he might be falling in love. In learning to respect the forest on Mt. Kamusari for its majestic qualities and its inexplicable secrets, Yuki starts to appreciate Kamusari’s harmony with nature and its ancient traditions.
The Easy Life in Kamusari was a pleasing coming-of-age tale with a fairy tale feel. Its strengths included a well-described portrayal of rural life and folk belief (which led to a great sense of place throughout the story) and a perfect blend of drama and humor. The weaknesses for me included the lack of background information about Yuki. His parents ship him off into the middle of nowhere, giving him no choice in the matter, yet we spend little to no time looking at his relationship with them or studying how he feels about what happened. But overall this was an easy and engaging read, and I felt by the end that I had learnt something about rural life, forestry and Japanese folklore and Shinto practices. This is my first time reading anything by Miura Shion, but I would definitely pick up more of her books in the future. This was a 4-star read for me.
I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.