BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

At the End of the Matinee by Keiichiro Hirano, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter [in Booklist]

The I-narrator of the opening prologue, presented rather like an author’s note, sets up a revealing frame for the love story to come even as he inserts, then immediately elides himself. “If I were absolutely faithful to the truth, I myself would have to make an appearance in certain scenes, but no such person exists in the novel.”

As he introduces Satoshi and Yoko, both “around forty,” he presents the pair already bound together with words – they, their, themselves – in the first pages. What follows is their relationship of “equal parts suffering and healing.” Satoshi the classical guitarist and Yoko the international journalist fall in love at first conversation. Despite declarations of mutual, irrepressible adoration and commitment, years of interruptions and separations must be overcome – a former engagement, creative slumps, war zones, PTSD, natural disasters, deceptive adversaries. True love, of course, conquers all.

A major bestseller in Japan already turned into a feature film, this is Hirano’s second anglophoned export, greatly benefiting from Carpenter’s impeccable translation that ensures a leisurely, against-so-many-odds romance for globally aware audiences.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, March 1, 2021

Readers: Adult

Published: 2016 (Japan), 2021 (United States)



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