by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Allison Markin Powell
Europa Editions ebook 2019, originally published 2003
source: purchased (kindle daily deal)
Best-selling and beloved Japanese author Hiromi Kawakami (The Nakano Thrift Shop) tells the story of an enigmatic man through the voices of ten remarkable women who have loved him.
Each woman has succumbed, even if only for an hour, to that seductive, imprudent, and furtively feline man who drifted so naturally into their lives. Still clinging to the vivid memory of his warm breath and his indecipherable sentences, ten women tell their stories as they attempt to recreate the image of the unfathomable Nishino.
Like a modern Decameron, this humorous, sensual, and touching novel by one of Japan’s best-selling and most beloved writers is a powerful and embracing portrait of the human comedy in ten voices. Driven by desires that are at once unique and common, the women in this book are modern, familiar to us, and still mysterious. A little like Nishino himself.
Unfortunately, my favorite thing about The Ten Loves if Nishino was the cover and, if I'm completely honest, that's what attracted me to the book in the first place.
This is a collection of short stories, each highlighting a woman and her relationship, whether brief or longer term, with Nishino. From the stories, the reader is meant to piece together a portrait of the man... a prospect which sounded intriguing.
The writing/translation was fine, the stories were interesting enough, but the overall effect somehow fell short. They just didn't add up to much - at least for me. I doubt I'll remember much about this book in a week or two.
I own another novel by the author, The Nakano Thrift Shop (also courtesy of a daily deal), and still plan to read it. If you're curious about this one, go ahead and give it a try - it's short.