March has ended and a new month has started. Flashing back to the month that was, here is the second part of my March 2021 book haul. Happy reading everyone and have a great weekend ahead. Always keep safe, too.

Title: Klara and the Sun
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publishing Date: 2021
No. of Pages: 303

Synopsis: “From the best-selling author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, a new stunning new novel – his first since winning the Nobel Prize in Literature – about the wondrous, mysterious nature of the human heart.

From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass in the street outside. She remains hopeful a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans.

In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?”

Title: When We Were Orphans
Author: Kazuo Ishiguro
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: October 2001
No. of Pages: 336

Synopsis: “Renowned London detective Christopher Banks was born in Shanghai at the beginning of the twentieth century, and lived there relatively happily until he was orphaned by the disappearances of his father and mother. Now, more than twenty years after leaving Shanghai, he is a celebrated figure in London society; yet the criminal expertise that has garnered him fame has done little to illuminate his understanding of the circumstances of his parents’ alleged kidnappings. Banks travels back to the seething, labyrinthine city of his memory in hopes of recovering all he has lost, only to find that the Sino-Japanese war is ravaging Shanghai beyond recognition – and that his own recollections are proving as difficult to trust as the people around him. Masterfully suspenseful and psychologically acute, When We Were Orphans offers a profound meditation on the shifting quality of memory, and the possibility of avenging one’s past.”

Title: Before the Coffee Gets Cold, Tales from the Café
Author: Toshikazu Kawa
Translator: Geoffrey Trousselot
Publisher: Picador
Publishing Date: 2020
No. of Pages: 192

Synopsis: “Every now and then, a customer like Gohtaro would come to the café after hearing the rumour that you could travel back in time.

‘Are you familiar with the rules?’ Kazu asked briefly – there were customers who rolled up at the café with no idea of them.

‘More or less…’ he replied hesitantly.

‘More or less?” Kyoko shouted.

Gohtaro shrugged apologetically. ‘You sit in a chair, someone makes you a coffee, and you return to the past… that’s all I’ve heard.'”

Title: There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job
Author: Kikuko Tsumura
Translator: Polly Barton
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publishing Date: 2020
No. of Pages: 399

Synopsis: “A woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that requires no reading, no writing, and ideally, very little thinking.

She is sent to a nondescript office building and tasked with watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of string contraband goods. But watching someone for hours isn’t as easy as it sounds. How will she stay awake? When can she take delivery of her favourite brand of tea? And, perhaps more importantly – how did she find herself in this situation in the first place?

As she moves from job to job, writing adverts for shops that mysteriously disappear and composing advice for rice cracker wrappers that generate thousands of devoted followers, it becomes increasingly apparent that she’s not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful… “

Title: Pinball, 1973
Author: Haruki Murakami
Translator: Ted Goossen
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: May 2016
No. of Pages: 132

Synopsis: “Pinball, 1973 is the second novel by Haruki Murakami. Written at his kitchen table in hours before dawn, this intoxicating short work – a wonderfully strange story of alienation, infatuation and obsession – helped launch the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time.

Set three years after Hear the Wind Sing, Pinball, 1973 finds our unnamed narrator living in Tokyo with identical, indistinguishable twin sisters. Listless and unsatisfied, he renews his old fascination with pinball and embarks on a quest to locate the legendary pinball machine he’d played on at J’s Bar years before: the three-flipper Spaceship.

A mind-bending work that showcases all the qualities of Murakami’s later books, Pinball, 1973 is an electrifying tale by one of our most essential writers.”

Title: Hear the Wind Sing
Author: Haruki Murakami
Translator:  Ted Goossen
Publisher: Vintage International
Publishing Date: May 2016
No. of Pages: 101

Synopsis: “Hear the Wind Sing is the very first novel by Haruki Murakami. Written at his kitchen table in the hours before dawn, this remarkable short work – a powerful, at times surreal story about two young men coming of age – helped launch the career of one of the most acclaimed authors of our time.

In this novel, an unnamed narrator returns to his hometown for summer break, which he mostly spends drinking and smoking at nearby J’s Bar with a friend known only as the Rat. As the long, hot days roll by ad the radio plays a steady stream of Elvis and the Beach Boys, he reflects on women and writing.

Bearing all the hallmarks of Murakami’s later books, Hear the Wind Sing is a fascinating insight into a great writer’s beginings.”