Many of the Japanese books translated into English in the past decade have fallen on one of two sides of the spectrum: sophisticated literary fiction or anime-adapted light novels. Satoshi Yagisawa’s “Days at the Morisaki Bookshop” is the rare title that lies between these poles. It’s a breezy, charming novel that’s cliched at times but also has meaningful messages wrapped up in its pages.
Days at the Morisaki Bookshop, By Satoshi Yagisawa, Translated by Eric Ozawa. 160 pgs, HARPER PERENNIAL, Fiction.
Despite being Yagisawa’s first novel, “Days at the Morisaki Bookshop” won the Chiyoda Literature Prize in 2008 and became a massive hit in Japan. It was as impressive a debut as an author could ask for, selling more than 100,000 copies and receiving a film adaptation not long after. Although Yagisawa has only published three novels since — two “Jun Kissa Torunka” (which translates to “Torunka Coffee Shop”) novels in 2013 and 2015, and “Kimi to Kuraseba” (“If I Lived With You”) in 2015 — they were all runaway successes here.