Monday, August 7, 2017

Review: I Called Him Necktie by Milena Michiko Flasar

I Called Him Necktie by Milena Michiko Flasar, translated from German by Sheila Dickie, is a book about two men - one young man who has been a shut-in for a long time, and one older man who lost his job and can't bring himself to tell his wife. It tells the story of their meeting on a bench in a park in Tokyo, and how they slowly open up to each other about their life stories.



At first, you might think this would be a small, boring story - two men who meet on a bench and talk about life? But the way it is written makes their small stories incredibly significant. The gentle, soulful prose made me want to read on to see what happened next. Will Hiro open up and talk to this stranger, when he hasn't talked to anyone in what seems to be years? Will Tetsu ever open up to his wife about losing his job? Will they be stuck on that bench talking forever?

This supposedly small story of two men of different generations actually ends up being much more than that - a sad, beautiful story about life, death, the pressure of society and mental illness. It's a short book, which is good because I don't think my heart could have taken much more. I think it's the kind of book you should read in one sitting on a gray, melancholy day when you want to cry and have your heart twisted a little bit and ponder the meaning of life.

Even with all the sorrow in this book, it still ends hopeful, which is probably my favourite thing about it. In the end, there is a happy ending, and hope for the world.

Check it out on:
Goodreads
Amazon.com
Amazon.ca

Check out my other Women in Translation month posts here

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