Tuesday 3 May 2011

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui

May 2011, Alma Books
200 pages, Paperback
Review copy 

Young Adult, time travel 

School life, friendships, time travel, preventing disaster, teen romance, combatting fears, sibling relationship, family life, seeking advice from adults, some scenes of peril

Summary from Alma Books 

One of Tsutsui’s best-known and most popular works in his native Japan, The Girl Who Leapt through Time is the story of fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Kazuko, who accidentally discovers that she can leap back and forth in time. In her quest to uncover the identity of the mysterious figure that she believes to be responsible for her paranormal abilities, she’ll constantly have to push the boundaries of space and time, and challenge the notions of dream and reality.

After the success of Paprika, Hell, The Maid and Salmonella Men on Planet Porno, this is the fifth work by one of the greatest and most acclaimed living Japanese writers to be translated in English, displaying all the author’s dry humour and relish for the absurd.

Nayuleska's thoughts

I was pretty excited when I was approached to review this. I recognised it because I've got and enjoyed the anime. To be able to read the original story was rather special. My Japanese isn't good enough to understand the original story, which makes the translation a welcome read. 

First of all I'd like to point out the cover. I love all the flowers and leaves, as well as the warm hues. Secondly, I'd like to point out one bonus: there are two stories in this book. 

Yes. Two! I'd was so surprised to see two. Initially I thought 'two parts to the story?' It was a brand new story! One which (I don't think - it was a while since I watched it) isn't in the anime. It isn't a time travel story, but it is slightly paranormal-y. It follows Masako as she tries to solve the problem of why her brother is scared to use the bathroom at night (he needs to learn because he's bullied by others at school for the result of not using the bathroom). It's really clever, so once the first revelation happened, I tried to figure out what the second one would be. It's not just about that though, there's a secret in Masako's past which explains why she's so terrified of a particular thing. Although it wasn't a pleasant situation to face, she does so with great courage. This was a bonus story from me, filled with the same style as The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. 

On to the first story which the book is named after. I was surprised to learn just how true to the story the anime was. I think it has a whole load of extra parts, but it definitely retells the story almost perfectly. The translater, David Karashima, has done a beautiful job on capturing the lyrical feel of the book. It reads beautifully, it's nice and smooth and pretty magical. It can be tricky conveying culture when using translations, but this has a Japanese feel and I found myself mentally reciting greeting phrases as I read them in English. Kazuko's new gift is good in the sense it helps prevents tragic events, but it's really hard on her because she has to make her friends believe her. They take a bit of convincing. They seek help from an unexpected source - well, I think it actually makes sense who they approached, it was just one I didn't expect. There's a huge twist over the source of Kazuko's gift, which is the same in the anime and tugged on my heart a little. 

I recommend everyone to read this before they watch the anime (which does keep pretty true to the story, I guess because it's a relatively short story and the anime film is full length). I have looked at Tsutsui's other books, and they aren't quite for me at the moment. 

Final conclusion
Definitely one if you like female protagonists who have to face their fears and deal with the unexpected quite a lot in their life and seek a solution that benefits everyone. 

Suggested reads 
Imprisoned In Time by Laura Gay, Translated from Italian, a great time modern day time travel story about a woman who stumbles into a different time, finds herself in deep trouble but also finds her future husband. 

Acorna's Rebels by Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Fantasy and I'm currently reading it, but Aari, Acorna's mate is lost in time to her. 

The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus, a modern day time travel story about a teen whose need to travel back and forth in time causes her some problems with her family. 


Charlotte said...

This one has been on my tbr list for a while--thanks for confirming that I do in fact want to read it! Sometimes I put things on that I know almost nothing about, and then wonder what I was thinking...

Nayuleska said...

Go read! I recommend watching the anime too.