Review & Tour: Rainbirds


By Clarissa Goenawan
Soho Press, 9781616958558, March 2018, 336pp.

The Short of It:

Readers of Haruki Murakami will absolutely love Rainbirds. It has all the elements that I enjoy in Japanese literature yet still presents its own unique voice.

The Rest of It:

Ren Ishida’s sister has been murdered. The situation surrounding her death is rather mysterious. Not a lot is known and since Ren and his sister haven’t seen each other recently, he’s not able to contribute any valuable information towards the investigation. Nonetheless,  he feels compelled to visit the place of her death and to perhaps retrieve her belongings with the hope of finding some key piece of evidence.

In the process, he finds himself living in her old room and teaching in her previous teaching position. He meets a woman who does not speak, a young student who has a mysterious way of showing up every time he thinks of her, a childhood friend he hasn’t seen in years and he is continually visited in his dreams by a young girl in pigtails. Who is she? What is she trying to tell him? Does she know something about his sister’s death?

As a Murakami fan, I noted mentions of ears, music, food and cats. Yep, they are all here.

I LOVED Rainbirds. It’s one of those quiet, introspective reads that I adore. It’s thoughtful, very much a page-turner and the story is fluid and seamless. I highly recommend it.

Clarissa Goenawan

For more information on the author, click here.

TLC Book Tours

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

18 thoughts on “Review & Tour: Rainbirds”

  1. Ti, I knew you would like this one. I noted the Murakami-ish touches, too. I loved this one, because I had been craving Japanese Lit and it fit the bill perfectly. Definitely makes me want to read more Japanese Lit 🙂

    1. Kathy, the style of this one is definitely Murakami-like but it’s much more tame. If you like this book though, I’m guessing you’d like Murakami too.

  2. I was intrigued when I read the description a while ago. So, this isn’t a crime novel, right? I’ve not read Murakami, but I have intended to read some crime novels that were translated from Japanese. Maybe later this year. This one is going on my list regardless.

    1. I wouldn’t classify this as crime fiction at all. There is a murder and a bit of mystery surrounding it but it’s a quiet, reflective novel.

  3. I am so glad you liked it this novel as I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read it or not. And I love the cover. I know, we’re not supposed to judge by the cover. The commenting feature on my blog has stopped working (temporarily, I hope). To be honest, we haven’t evacuated since the fire. We live right on the edge of the “yellow” and know that our neighborhood is safe.

    1. I noticed the comment issue on your blog but I used a different browser and was able to post a comment there. I have so many ad blockers for work I figured it was just Chrome.

    1. Not really. We don’t know who killed his sister and he certainly wants to know but the investigation is secondary, really. In a murder mystery it’s all about the case. Not here. This is more about who his sister was, who did she hang out with and how it all circles back to his own relationship with her.

  4. This sounds really good; thanks for sharing.

    BTW – I am reading a book called, Best Day Ever that I think you would really enjoy. It’s full of tension, it’s fast paced and about husband and wife with secrets.

    1. Best Day Ever. I read it not too long ago and reviewed it. I enjoyed it. It was one of those fun, page turning reads. I can see a movie being made of it. I would cast someone pretty like Finn Witrock as the male lead.

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