Book review: 『錦繡』by Teru Miyamoto

錦繡 (きんしゅう)
Title: 錦繡 (きんしゅう)
First published: 1982
Published: 1985
Format: Bunko
Page Count: 270
Translation: Kinshu: Autumn Brocade, by Roger K. Thomas
私はあなたにまさにひと目惚れでした。愛し合いながらも離婚した二人が、紅葉に染まる蔵王で十年を隔て再会した――。往復書簡がそれぞれの過去と思慕を炙り出す。恋愛小説の金字塔。会って話したのでは伝えようもない心の傷。14通の手紙が、それを書き尽くした。「前略 蔵王のダリア園から、ドッコ沼へ登るゴンドラ・リフトの中で、まさかあなたと再会するなんて、本当に想像すら出来ないことでした」運命的な事件ゆえ愛しながらも離婚した二人が、紅葉に染まる蔵王で十年の歳月を隔て再会した。そして、女は男に宛てて一通の手紙を書き綴る――。往復書簡が、それぞれの孤独を生きてきた男女の過去を埋め織りなす、愛と再生のロマン

First published in 1982, 『錦繡』is certainly one of Teru Miyamoto’s most popular novels. It was translated into English by Roger K. Thomas under the title Kinshu: Autumn Brocade, and into French, Le Brocart, by Maria Grey.

Review

『錦繡』 is an epistolary novel (only composed of letters). Aki and Yasuaki were once a married couple. They meet by chance, ten years after their divorce and start to exchange letters.

『錦繡』belongs to these books that I loved so much, it is difficult to talk about them. Apart from “you must read it”, I don’t seem to find anything to say.

I cannot remember the last time a novel affected me so much. I kept thinking about the story and the characters even when I was not reading the book. I identified easily with the characters, and I was emotionally involved in the story right from the beginning. Some letters were so full of emotions, it often took me a while to go back to my real life after I had close the book.

This is a short novel, but there are some long descriptions and almost no dialogues. However, it was not as difficult to read as I expected, and it does not belong to the books that I find challenging in terms of Japanese level. Being able to read『錦繡』in Japanese is extremely rewarding to me. I had a look at the French translation (1994) (you can read the first pages on the publisher’s website), and I personally don’t like how it is written in French. I am glad that I can read Teru Miyamoto in Japanese.

I heartily recommend 『錦繡』, I cannot imagine someone reading and not loving this book. If you are not sure whether your Japanese level allows you to read this novel in Japanese, you could read in parallel: use the English translation to help you understand the text, while still enjoying the original version in Japanese.

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