Book review of All The Lovers In The Night by Mieko Kawakami
All The Lovers In The Night
Fuyuko Irie is a freelance proofreader in her thirties. Living alone, and unable to form meaningful relationships, she has little contact with anyone other than Hijiri, someone she works with. When she sees her reflection, she’s confronted with a tired and spiritless woman who has failed to take control of her own life. Her one source of solace: light. Every Christmas Eve, Fuyuko heads out to catch a glimpse of the lights that fill the Tokyo night. But it is a chance encounter with a man named Mitsutsuka that awakens something new in her. And so her life begins to change.
As Fuyuko starts to see the world in a different light, painful memories from her past begin to resurface. Fuyuko needs to be loved, to be heard, and to be seen. But living in a small world of her own making, will she find the strength to bring down the walls that surround her? All The Lovers In The Night is acute and insightful, entertaining and captivating, pulsing and poetic, modern and shocking. It’s another unforgettable novel from Japan’s most exciting writer.
Ever read a book so subtly coy yet so kaleidoscopic in essence that it threatens to thwart all sense of judgement you hold into inane nothings? I just finished something that astounding people.
Just read the calmest book All The Lovers In The Night by Mieko Kawakami and boy oh boy, was I left speechless!! Let me begin to start to attempt to explain to you all why.
See what I mean? I am absolutely gobsmacked by how a quiet novel (not to forget translated too!!) is such a stunner that it slowly gets inside your heart and mind, infusing your nerves with wonders, showing you the prismatic colours of life, staying with you for long, even after you have finished reading it.
A character study of sorts initially by the main protagonist, Fuyuko Irie, this one delves into her self -introspection into her own life, one where she realizes that she is the perfect example of a miserable person, lonely and detached. In an attempt to fight and ward off this isolation and melancholy she befriends Mitsutsuka, a man much older than her and who, like her “supposedly” shares a common interest in the science of light. They muse upon how light, which is scientifically one of the most powerful forces, absorbs as well as vanishes from our lives. Yes, there is where I could completely relate to and feel the metaphorical reference Mieko has put forth through the references, the comparatives put across having been done for the purpose of not only a metaphor but putting across a much deeper, intense reality-the inadvertent universal trajectory of life and death aka vanishment.
This being my 3rd Kawakami book, I have long since admired her ease of projecting multifaceted metaphors and putting them across effortlessly, with the ease of one explaining something calmly yet crystal clear. In fact, I have always felt that there is an uncanny approach she always has adopted, giving us seemingly random third-person perspectives which eventually blend into the main idea being put across, a moral or a concept perhaps, which she wants us to take note of. The brilliant interweave she manages through these seemingly random monologues might seem erratic at one point but by the end of the read, one can not only fully comprehend them but resonate with them at all levels.
The style of writing being musing of sorts and introspective, Mieko has brought out a parallel tangent, presenting this novel in a steady yet meandering manner. It appears as isolated of sorts, aloof and non-indulging in a manner of sorts, not allowing anyone to get close. There are even points in the narrative I felt, which will seem as if you are caught up in that continuum alongside Fuyuko, between the web of now and here, bidding away your time, to reach… nothing or nowhere next. But then, that exactly I‘d say is the strength and beauty of Mieko’s writing. To be able to get us along to that pinpoint and suspend us at it, poised towards nowhere, making us fully comprehend and understand the protagonist and her current mindset, her plight, her struggles and so on. I personally resonated with how she seemed to be living life at many points on autopilot, cold, robotic and unyielding almost to the point wherein these qualities which should have been merely the tool markers for her professional ground seeped and bled themselves into her personal marring her personality in a detached way. Yes, her detached manner of experiencing books made her start keeping emotions at bay. She even has been portrayed to follow the emotions of Hijiri, her boss and perfect antithesis at a point. Isn’t that akin to what we all too resort to in our lives, competing yet subconsciously idolizing those whom we love to hate? Indeed, a wise extract from beyond ages I’d say because introvert or otherwise, Kawakami has hit the bullseye in depicting the intricacies of complex, deep human emotions and done so in a beautifully intricate manner leaving us wondering and grasping the magnificence of it all.
Whenever my emotions or whatever kick, in my world goes blank-like something’s taken over me. Then I start doubting everything, like what if my whole life was just a quote from something else, only I never realized it? That’s where my brain goes.
A brilliant read, yes melancholic agreed but yet profound and mirror-like, slowly working its way, warming up the cogs of your heart, only to burn down the tiny superficial over expectations you might have dared to harbour in that tiny little self of yours, which stays surreptitiously hidden, away from the bright shackles of light and ground realities and home truths. Leaving you with a couple of my favourite lines from this book:
I became unsure of how to leave the mirror, how to leave me in the mirror behind.
So, hope you guys enjoyed this book review aka my musing and thoughts on All The Lovers In The Night by Mieko Kawakami. Do let us know in the comments below which other books would you like us to read and review. Do keep tuning in to catch the best from the field of entertainment, travel, beauty, food, lifestyle, tech and gadgets and all things bookish.
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