My book review of 'The Phone Box at the Edge of the World' by Laura Imai Messina
The Phone Box at the Edge of the World
It begins with unimaginable loss and tragedy. In the tsunami, Yui loses her mother and daughter. She spends days lying on a square of plastic in a hall, her home as she waits for news.
Eventually, seeking to come to terms with her loss and realising life must go on, Yui learns of a man who has an old telephone box in his garden. Here, the bereaved can reconnect with their loved ones. They lift the receiver and say all the things that had been left unsaid.
Yui makes her own pilgrimage to this garden but once there finds that she cannot lift the receiver. She meets Takeshi, though, a bereaved husband whose daughter has stopped talking.
And the story continues as their friendship grows and they come to terms with their grief, their loss, and their hopes for life to come.
It reminded me of 'Before the Coffee Gets Cold' by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, also a magical tale of sadness and loss which brings joy, hope and wonder to the reader.
But this story is based on a real place and a real desire by the owners of "Bell Gardia Kujira-yama, the countryside which is not on a map" to offer comfort to those who are grieving. Wonderful!