All the Lovers in the Night

Mieko Kawakami, 1976-

Book - 2022

Fuyuko Irie is a freelance copy editor in her mid-thirties. Working and living alone in a city where it is not easy to form new relationships, she has little regular contact with anyone other than her editor, Hijiri, a woman of the same age but with a very different disposition. When Fuyoku stops one day on a Tokyo street and notices her reflection in a storefront window, what she sees is a drab, awkward, and spiritless woman who has lacked the strength to change her life and decides to do somet...hing about it. As the long overdue change occurs, however, painful episodes from Fuyuko's past surface and her behavior slips further and further beyond the pale. All the Lovers in the Night is acute and insightful, entertaining and engaging; it will make readers laugh, and it will make them cry, but it will also remind them, as only the best books do, that sometimes the pain is worth it.

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FICTION/Kawakami Mieko
1 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Kawakami Mieko Due Jun 30, 2023
1st Floor FICTION/Kawakami Mieko Checked In
New York, N.Y. : Europa Editions 2022.
Item Description
"Original title: Subete mayonaka no koibitotachi"--Title page verso.
"Copyright © 2011 by Mieko Kawakami ... Translation by Sam Bett and David Boyd ... Translation copyright © 2022 by Kieko Kawakami" -- verso.
Physical Description
221 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Mieko Kawakami, 1976- (author)
Other Authors
Sam Bett, 1986- (translator), David (David G.) Boyd
Review by Booklist Review

During a rare non-work outing, a colleague says, "tell me something about you," but the protagonist "couldn't think of a single thing . . . worth sharing." Silently, she considers what she might start to say: "My name is Fuyuko Irie, a freelance proofreader, thirty-four years old." Kawakami, whose Breast and Eggs (2020) was an international bestseller for exposing the sexist hypocrisy and gender disparity of contemporary Japan, returns with another commanding, introspective novel, again deftly English-enabled by Bett and Boyd. Fuyuko--untethered, gainfully employed, comfortably domiciled--might initially be considered a successful young woman. Her aloneness, however, looms. She quits an office job in which she was disdained by fellow staff, but freelancing further isolates her since she rarely needs to leave her apartment, where she works single-mindedly. Her work-assigning colleague might be her only friend. Once a teetotaler, she discovers that being inebriated is the only way she can venture out. She explores the possibility of enrolling at a local culture center, where she doesn't find a class but meets a good Samaritan who, for a while, becomes a light-filled connection to science, music, perhaps her own self. Adroitly interweaving pivotal moments of Fuyuko's past, Kawakami expertly reveals how independence morphs into debilitating loneliness. Candid and searing, Kawakami's latest is another brilliantly rendered portal into young women's lives.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Kawakami (Heaven) returns with a sensational story of loneliness and friendship. Fuyuko Irie, 34, is an asocial freelance proofreader in Tokyo with a repressed libido, self-described as possessing the "self-absorption of a single woman who nothing with her life but work." Friendships elude her except when they're related to her professional life, particularly her outspoken and free-thinking editor, Hijiri Ishikawa. In Fuyuko's free time, she wanders aimlessly in the Shinjuku shopping district and binges on sake. Then, at a culture center, she meets Mitsutsuka, a considerably older high school physics teacher, who introduces her to Chopin's soothing, transcendent "Berceuse" lullaby. They bond over theoretical discussions of quarks, string theory, and the physical and philosophical nature of the "mysteries of light" until Mitsutsuka reveals a disheartening truth about himself. The author dazzles with her exploration of emotions and intertwining of lofty discussions of metaphysics with descriptions of Fuyuko's routines, making her an extraordinary character who moves effortlessly between different worlds as she struggles to find herself. Kawakami turns this study of a "dictionary definition of a miserable person," as Fuyuko calls herself, into an invigorating and empowering portrait. It's a winner. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Kirkus Book Review

The acclaimed author of Breasts and Eggs (2020) and Heaven (2021) surprises again in this thoughtful book about women, loneliness, and relationships. After seeing how miserable she looks in a reflection in a shop window, Fuyuko Irie, a freelance copy editor in her mid-30s, decides to enrich her solitary life. She begins by taking up drinking, which loosens her up and makes social interactions easier. Then she decides she should take a class at the local culture center, but after two attempts, she still doesn't manage to register. Both times she goes to sign up for a class, she meets a man named Mitsutsuka in the lobby as a result of a mishap that brings them together. Mitsutsuka and Fuyuko begin meeting regularly at a cafe, where they talk about all sorts of things but mainly about "the mysteries of light." While their relationship is important to Fuyuko's development, the women in her life are even more important. Through Fuyuko and the women around her, Kawakami has created a rich and notable examination of the varied ways women choose to live their lives and the gains and losses that come with the choices they've made. Hijiri is the same age as Fuyuko but her total opposite. She's sex positive, prizes her independence, and speaks her mind. Kyoko is the founder of her own business, more traditional, and critical of Hijiri's lifestyle. Noriko is in a sexless marriage and loves being a mother, but both she and her husband are having affairs. Fuyuko's indecisiveness, of course, results in discontentment. She says of herself, "I had faked it the whole way. In all those years of doing whatever I was told to do, I had convinced myself that I was doing something consequential, in order to make excuses for myself, as I was doing right now, and perpetually dismissed the fact that I'd done nothing with my life, glossing over it all." Kawakami writes with the tender and incisive sensibilities of a poet. She never prescribes the right way to live, but Fuyuko becomes a happier person because of her relationships with others. An unforgettable and masterful work. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.