The Nakano Thrift Shop
When Hitomi starts working in Mr. Nakano’s store, he tells her right away that they do not sell antiques, but rummage. It is a quiet store and every so often Mr. Nakano goes out with young Takeo to buy now old merchandise. Between old ashtrays, life-size advertisements cutouts, odd ball customers and old vases, affection slowly grows between Hitomi and Takeo. As both have been burnt by love before, their relationship is an awkward to-and-fro, with moments of intimacy and periods of rejection. And all between that, we hear of the women in Mr. Nakano’s life; about his current lover, but also about his ever present sister Masayo and the love of her life.
The Nakano Thrift Shop is the thread that weaves through a number of episodes in the lives of the protagonists, all of them centred on love in one way or the other. However, the decision of Mr. Nakano to open a real antiques shop in a more upscale neighbourhood tears apart the fragile web between the characters, and leaves a sense of loss in its wake.
Hiromi Kawakami was born in Tokyo in 1958 and started her career as a writer with science fiction stories, directly after graduating from college. She has since received numerous Japanese literary awards, including the Akutagawa Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Yomiuri Prize.
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