“The Nakano Thrift Shop” (Furudogu Nakano Shoten) by Hiromi Kawakami is a lovely book well worth reading. It illustrates the value of daily life and how it frames the most significant things in life.
As is usual in Hiromi Kawakami´s writing, the main character (Hitomi) is also the narrator, which creates an environment that links the storyline with the protagonist’s thoughts and gives the novel a dynamic and in-depth narrative.
It is written in an engaging way. Each chapter appears to be unconnected from the rest; each one tells a specific story about the events in the store, which once told is not mentioned again. The stories come and go; as they arrive, they leave, leaving the illusion that they had no impact on the characters.
Much like the threads used to make a rug, every tiny moment weaves with another to create something bigger than itself. The book´s beauty and magic come from how closely it resembles real life. Behind what is seen, a whole story is developing.
As trivial events pass through life, greater, continuous, and more meaningful experiences are built upon the actions of their protagonists, but not upon their deliberate intentions.
The characters, little by little, get to know one another, but more importantly, they get to know themselves. However, every step toward intimacy is accompanied by the fear of showing who you are. This book is a journey of self-discovery that shows us the beauty of mysteries we are unable to unravel.
Hiromi Kawakami teaches us that there are everyday details—a glance, a touch, a feeling, a smile, a thought— that transcend, and despite our efforts to ignore them and deceive ourselves, time will reveal what has been hidden.