Monday 20 June 2011

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui

Pages - 170
Published by Alma Books in 2011 - translated from Japanese in 2011 - originally published in 1967
Book kindly sent to me by publisher for an honest review.

 It had been hours since most of the students had left the school building. Its halls and classrooms were now cold, and everywhere was quiet, except for the distant sound of someone playing Chopin's 'Polonaise' on the piano in the auditorium. 
Kazuko Yoshiyama was in her last year of junior high school, and she'd just about finished cleaning up the science lab with her classmates, Kazuo Fukamachi and Goro Asakura.

This is really a novella rather than an novel and one that I found interesting. It tells the story of a fifteen year old Japanese girl called Kazuko  who accidentally discovers that she can travel back and forth in time. She is desperate to work out who gave her this ability and believes it is the due to the mysterious person who was hovering in the science laboratory at school. Something had gone wrong and she had fainted at the same time. She knew she would have to travel back in time to work out who the person was.

It was an enchanting story and I was really enjoying it up until the last few pages,where unfortunately I found the story became difficult to believe. I know you are probably shaking your head at me and saying 'Its fiction, it isn't true anyway.' Well I know  that, but majority of books you can lose yourself into the fantasy and believe every word of it and for most of this story, I fully believed that time travel was possible. However, the ending swayed a little into the too far fetched area for me and I found myself recalling an episode of Friends where Joey is desperately trying to be taken seriously as an actor in a play. The play looks like an intense and entertaining one until a ladder comes down from the sky to take him into space. You know the one  I mean?

I can only hope that the ending got a little lost in translation as it seemed so disjointed to the rest of the story. I would have loved to have seen this story expanded allowing more character development and a more believable ending.

The book actually consists of two stories and out of the two I actually preferred 'The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of'' more. The main character of the story 'Masuko' is trying to discover the route to her fears and embarks on a journey to do so. I found it very enchanting and it had a lovely twist at the end of it.

Both of these stories were written in 1967 and I was pleased to discover that they still felt current and not at all dated. If you plan to read this book, I would possibly start with the second one before reading the first.
I would be interested in reading other works by this author as his stories must have seemed very fresh and original when they were written in the sixties, especially as they still stand out now.


  1. I know what you mean, It's as if something gets thrown in that doesn't fit with the level of fantasy in the book. The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of sounds interesting, I do love a twist :D

  2. I don't like when that happens in a book. You're loving it and then all of a sudden it just doesn't fit anymore. It's a bit disappointing. That being said, this still sounds pretty good and it's a great cover.

  3. I know exactly what you mean. I can go along with a book up until a certain point and then I think, "Come on!" This sounds good even with the disjointed ending.

  4. Lovely review, Vivienne. You may want to join Dolce Bellezza's Japanese Literature Reading Challenge 5.

  5. this sounds intriguing, I may have to read it just to see what the ending is like! I had been avoiding this one but after your review I might give it a go... but only if I can get it from the library, I dont think i'll buy it if the ending is disappointing!

  6. Very intriguing premise - it's really too bad about those final pages! And yes, there is such a thing as a story being believable no matter how fantastic it actually is!

  7. Despite the sound of the final pages, I still want to read this as it sounds interesting. Ta for the review!

  8. I'm sorry the ending is a little off but the story does sound interesting. The cover is beautiful.


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