Book Review – The perfect world of Miwako Sumida

I heard a podcast (about 43:36) on this book’s author Clarissa Goenawan and found her interesting. She’s an Indonesian-born Singaporean who writes stories based in Japan about Japanese characters. She is an author who is obsessed with Japan but I’m not sure if she has actually lived there. Anyway, the book they were reviewing was Watersong. I have not read this one but I have read The Perfect World of Wimako Sumida, which was the only book by Goenawan available at my local library. And here I am reviewing it today.

I am currently looking into travelling to Japan so this comes in handy as part of my research. This would be the second book of fiction that I have read which have Japanese-life elements into them. The first one was Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi.

So now about this book….it’s about a University student girl named Miwako Sumida who harbour a deep secret but we only discover this secret through the lenses of her friend Chie Ohno; her boyfriend Ryusei Yanagi and his sister Fumi Yanagi. They are the three main narrators of this book. We find out early on that Miwako dies and her friends want to know why and how. Miwako is supposed to be odd and that is what is attractive about her to her friends but I find her oddness a little bit annoying. She’s being odd for oddness’ sake. It’s a little selfish also on her part. Nevertheless, her friends love her and wonder what they did that made her do what she did.

It’s an ok book. It has references to Japanese culture which I enjoyed. There were also some funny dialogues, in which I giggled especially between Miwako and Ryusei. I mildly recommend this book!


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