Clarissa Goenawans dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan.Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko's sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister's affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politicians mansion in exchange for reading to the mans catatonic wife.As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind....
|Number of Pages||:||323 pages|
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RAINBIRDS is slightly different from my usual cup of tea. I love that I got the chance to read something outside my comfort zone. Plus, it's set in Japan.
The book opens with a murder. Let me tell you, I've been guessing left and right the entire time and still got it wrong. That should say something about the author's brilliant mind. The ending leaves me thirsty for more, definitely thirsty for (more) vengeance. Though the story tends to lean toward the dark, the writing is clean, beautiful, an ...more
This book was…interesting. Not what I expected. What I expected was something a bit more mysterious and thrilling, but what I got was more of a story of one man’s many exploits with women who don’t seem to extensively interest him, whilst wondering at the death of his sister and uncovering several secrets he seems to stumble upon a bit too easily.
BUT before I go too hard on this book, and even though I rated it two and a half stars, I was actually quite far into this book before I realized how m ...more
I was fortunate enough to receive an Advance Review Copy of this novel which comes out next year.
Fans of Murakami will not be disappointed by this lyrical, spell-binding evocation of a narrator who finds himself alone and grieving in a sleepy Japanese town.
I lost myself in Goenawan’s prose, in the effortless detail of everyday life and in the brooding mood that hung over every action.
5/5stars | Favorite Standalone
Okay so. This book was my most anticipated book of the year - it was casually in my "anticipated books" list but the closer it got to its release, the more I NEEDED my hands on it. And this was the first time my most anticipated book of the year didn't disappoint me! This was everything I could have asked for and more tbh - even if I was excited for it, I never expected it to be a 5/5 star fave book like... I'm blown away.
"Rainbirds" is about a young Grad student R ...more
BOTM offered this as a “spellbinding” debut about a brother’s quest for the truth behind his sister’s murder. People have called this book “lyrical” (do they know what that word means?), “luminous,” “evocative,” and a number of other gushing adjectives that seemed right up my alley.
Guys: I. Hated. This. Book.
Harsh? Yes. But you’re dealing with a rage that has simmered for 322 pages and is finally coming into contact with the outside world, so...here goes.
The prose isn’t just spare, it’s sparse ...more
RAINBIRDS is a compelling and thoughtful story set in Japan in 1994. It's the story of Ren Ishida whose sister, Keiko, has just been murdered in her prime. Ren moves to the small town where Keiko lived and worked and takes a job at the school where Keiko taught. There he meets a beautiful but troubled student called Rio and discovers painful secrets about the past. The prose is clean and evocative with a light magic realism touch and hits the sweet spot between beautiful and couldn't-put-it-down ...more
I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reader copy of Rainbirds. This haunting story is of a brother, Ren Ishida, who comes to a small Japan town where his sister was murdered to settle her affairs. By stepping into the life she left behind, he hopes to learn why his sister left him and his parents behind in Tokyo, and why she was murdered.
I was immediately drawn into the characters and the prose in this story. It's a quiet mystery, with the clues unfolding in the every day life that were bot ...more
This book was a pleasant surprise--spare and lyrical prose in what seemed part Japanese novel, part mystery, part poetry. While the plot didn't always go in the direction I imagined it would and a few scenes seemed inauthentic to the overall story, there were unforgettable details in the tale of Ren Ishida and his visit to the town where his sister was murdered. Goenawan's imagery was particularly evocative when she wrote about her main character's dreams. A powerful read and one that was hard t ...more