Spring Garden or 春の庭 (Haru No Niwa) was first published in 2014 in Japanese and has now been translated into English, the novella also won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize upon its release.
READ FROM 20/05/17 TO 28/05/17
Spring Garden follows two characters Taro and Nishi. Both live alone in an apartment building that is to be demolished as soon as the last tenant’s lease is up. Taro and Nishi form a bond with each other as their temporary lives intertwine, and Nishi’s fixation with a Sky Blue House across the street brings them on a journey of self-discovery and realisation of how fast the world around them changes.
Spring Garden is an unusual read and while the book is only 154 pages the story stays with you long after. Nostalgia is a theme that runs deep through the story, especially for Nishi, her life has very much evolved around the Sky Blue house and it’s a strange but utterly human moment when she finally steps inside the building and realises that it’s not what she always hoped it would be and that the house has changed over the years just like the whole city around her.
That’s the core of the story, the idea of change and evolution, the characters change the city changes and even the interior of the Sky Blue house changes over time. This is something I love about novellas, their ability to tell a short but moving tales. And as someone who loves Literature, I must say that no one can beat Japanese writers for these intimate and odd little stories.
A captivating story of Nostalgia and how the world around you will always keep evolving whether you’re ready for it to or not.
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