Monday 5 June 2023

Book Review: What You Are Looking for is in the Library by Aoyama Michiko (Contemporary Fiction)

Title: What You Are Looking for is in the Library
Author: Aoyama Michiko
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Publication Date: 10 August 2023
Pages: 256
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: ARC via NetGalley

What are you looking for?

So asks Tokyo's most enigmatic librarian, Sayuri Komachi. She is no ordinary librarian. Naturally, she has read every book on her shelf, but she also has the unique ability to read the souls of anyone who walks through her door. Sensing exactly what they're looking for in life, she provides just the book recommendation they never knew they needed to help them find it.

Every borrower in her library is at a different crossroads, from the restless retail assistant - can she ever get out of a dead-end job? - to the juggling new mother who dreams of becoming a magazine editor, and the meticulous accountant who yearns to own an antique store. The surprise book Komachi lends to each will change their lives for ever.


What You Are Looking for is in the Library is a tale told through five different library patrons. Each of them has something going on in their life that is causing them some kind of problems or anxiety, but thanks to the strange reading recommendations from the librarian, each eventually finds a way forward. There is perhaps the barest hint of magical realism at play in the librarian's skill at matching each customer with the book they really need, although she denies any such gift, but essentially this is a sweet contemporary tale of people for whom a book opens up a new world of possibilities. It really is a homage to books and reading, and the way another's words can sometimes change our lives. Highly recommended to book-lovers in general and especially fans of Japanese modern fiction. I am giving it 5 stars.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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