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  • Location: Japan, Tohoku

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

Why a Booktrail?

2011: We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .

  • ISBN: 978-1786580399
  • Translator: Lucy Rand
  • Genre: Fiction, Inspired by true events

What you need to know before your trail

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.

Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people travel to it from miles around.

Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.

Travel Guide

A novel of grief inspired by the 2011 Tsunami in Japan

This gorgeous and poignant telephone box really exists!

In the novel people who have lost those they love in the Tsunami of 2011 have the possibility to use a so-called ‘wind phone’ – a disused telephone in the garden by the name of Belle Gardia where people go to talk to those they have lost.

The phone box and garden are based on reality and inspired by the author’s desire to explore grief and longing following the aftermath of a disaster. There are many concepts and terms used in the novel to explore the cultural differences of death and how we grieve. One of them is the concept of kijo which means ‘ the greater the suffering, the less it is shown’

The settings act as a backdrop and springboard for the processes and people we follow. It’s the idea of the phone box where you can talk to departed loved ones that is key. However the book is heavily immersed throughout in Japanese culture (there’s even a glossary of Japanese words included at the back of the book) The author is herself Italian but has a Japanese husband and has lived in Japan for over 15 years. An interesting cultural mix that crosses borders in every way.

BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

Destination/location: Japan, Tohoku  Author/guide: Laura Imai Messina  Departure Time: 2011

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