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Book Title: The Friends|
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 541 KB
v The author of the book: Kazumi Yumoto
Edition: Tandem Library
Date of issue: October 1st 1999
ISBN 13: 9780613078221
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books The Friends:People come to this book. They read story. And they just keep turning pages. They could not do anything else than turn page after page and then close the book with a bit a regret and a vague sadness.
At first when I read it, I was like "Oh, this is about an old man taught the kids all the good things in the world. So easy-reading, this wouldn't take long"; I was right, the reading, it didn't take long. But as soon as I'd finished the book, suddenly I just wanted to find somebody, anybody for me to see them, to touch them. I was over-flown with the idea if I could not find someone at that moment, they would disappear without me knowing, and that will be the saddest thing in this whole universe. I did not want myself to end up like the three kids in the story.
After that, I gave this book many thoughts. One of them was seriously thinking about people around me. I saw someone died once, my friend actually. The death came to struck all of us in the most unbelievable, horrified way. We could not realize her abscence after the funeral. It's what people call 'denial'. We carry on studying, living just exactly like when she was still with us, because we could not believe she'd died. And then I remembered this book, I cried when I read it the second time, wishing that we could have done something like things in the book with her, so that we could be more hurtful than we are right now. Kamiya, Yamashita and Wakabe, they might have sufferred through the painful of death, but they were so lucky to be able to hold such vivid, endearing memories about the Old Man.
And to children these days, they have had many modern devices and suddenly they just, they just cannot gather around, doing foolish, curious things together, so I feel horrible for them. If they cannot have the real social life, they cannot really care about people around them. They need someone like the Old Man in here, who will teach them the beauty of plants, ways to do laundry and how to enjoy life with their friends, with their hobbies.
I found blurring summer sceneries of this story precious. I felt like I'd lived in such a life once and regretting why myself could not once have this kind of childhood, it was kind of reminiscent you know. And also the kids' curiousness about death in here was so amusing, yet so real; it reminded me how kids really are: simple and innocent. It made me want to come back to be a child.
This pure story is worth a shot, now I tell you. This should be brought in classes, for the children to read and to discuss about it, so that they could once again awaken something deeply inside their memories, their childlike characters.
Read information about the authorKazumi Yumoto was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1959 and got into literature via music. She studied composition at Tokyo College of music and during this time wrote opera libretti and plays for radio and television. Her first novel “Natsu no niwa” (Engl. “The Friends”, 1996) appeared in 1992 to international acclaim. In a direct an warmhearted style it tells the story of three adolescents in contemporary Japan who want to learn more about death and decide to spy on an old man whom they assume will die soon, but things develop in an unexpected manner. A fragile friendship grows between Kiyama, Yamashita and Kawabe, in which they learn a lot about life, tolerance and the dignity of getting old. Yumoto approaches the frightening and fascinating ‘event’ of death in a vital and uninhibited way. What does a dead body look like? How many times have we taken breath? What happens afterwards? The book is narrated in a clear and quiet fashion. Other issues, such as the mother’s alcoholicism or the troubling war memories of the old man, are also discreetly incorporated. In this way, a children’s novel is built up which excludes nothing, which touches on the horrible without dramatising it, which treats a delicate issue lightly but never frivolously (Neue Züricher) and which quietly brings a strange culture closer. “Natsu no niwa” received the Boston Globe-Horn Award (1997) and was nominated for the German Juvenile’s Literature Prize (1996); it was made into a film by Shinji Somai (1996).
Again and again Yumoto takes up the difficult experiences of growing up and the conflicts that for children can be associated with it. In doing so she never avoids serious questions such as illness, death, suicide and religion, as in the book for young adults, “Popura no aki” (1997; Engl. “The Letters”, 2002), her third novel that was translated into German. Chiaki, a young woman, remembers how she moved into the “Poplar-House” with her mother when she was six years old. There the eccentric yet loveable landlady Mrs Yanagi helped her to fight her anxieties – which above all had to do with the to her incomprehensible fact of her father’s death. When the old lady tells her that she will convey letters to the dead when dying, Chiaki starts writing letters to her father dealing with her pain and her questions. Very often in Yumoto’s novels old people play a fundamental role. “I believe that there is a kind of relationship with children that is only feasible for adults who at the same time are not the parents, and that such a relationship can strongly influence a child’s course in a certain part of its life.” Kazumi Yumoto lives in Tokyo.
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