Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m sharing my review of The Phone Box at the Edge of the World, a beautiful book I’m glad I squeezed in to my 2021 reads.
We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .
When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.
Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people will travel there from miles around.
Soon Yui will make her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.
What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.
This is one of those books that will stay with you for a long time to come. Full of emotion, power, and finding the beauty in the pain, it follows Yui on a journey of development and forgiveness for herself and the world around her. It jumps around in time and gives us little breaks in the tale with things like music lists and words said into the Phone Box by other people as she meets them throughout the book. Somehow, though, despite – or maybe because of – all these changes in the storyline, it is one of the smoothest running books I’ve enjoyed this year.
Based on a real wind phone that was installed after personal loss, we meet a small cast of characters all impacted by their own grief, and how their stories entertwine, both in the short and long terms. Some we only meet once, some we follow throughout the pages regularly. And although the story is fiction, you find yourself sucked in to grieve with them as if they were people you knew yourself.
Yui visits the phone box time and again, travelling regularly with her new friend, Takeshi, yet she cannot bring herself to step into the box. Her journey through grief in these pages as a daughter and a mother is hard hitting, and when she becomes more involved in Takeshi’s life and has to face the question of being sucked in to the life of a child again with his daughter, she has to really find out how much of her is able to live in the present, while holding onto her past.
Thanks for stopping by today for one of my first reviews of 2022. I’m really pleased I could share these thoughts with you, and look forward to sharing many more over the months to come.