Saturday 8 June 2024

Book Review: Gifted by Suzuki Suzumi (Contemporary Fiction)

Suzuki Suzumi
Scribe UK
24 October 2024
eBook - PDF
Contemporary Fiction
ARC via Edelweiss

A moving portrayal of a troubled mother–daughter relationship, shortlisted for Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize.

In 2008, the unnamed narrator of Gifted is working as a hostess and living in Tokyo’s nightlife district. One day, her estranged mother, who is seriously ill, suddenly turns up at her door.

As the mother approaches the end of her life, the two women must navigate their strained relationship, while the narrator also reckons with events happening in her own life, including the death of a close friend ― all under the bright lights of Tokyo‘s ‘sleepless town’, Kabukichō.

In sharp, elegant prose, and based on the author’s own experiences as a sex worker, Gifted heralds the breakthrough of an exciting new literary talent. 

Gifted was a book I read from start to finish in a single evening. The prose was easy reading yet still packed with emotion, and I did find myself caught up in the world and characters. However, as it ended, I did find myself wishing there had been a little more too it, as it felt more like a vignette than a complete tale. There was a sense of gritty realism to it, though, which sets it apart from the cuter, magical realism focus of much contemporary Japanese fiction that gets translated into English, so if you are looking for something outside the usual fare, this book is worth a look. I am giving it four stars.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment