It’s been a while since I received the ARC for Jeff Backhaus’ debut novel, Hikikomori and the Rental Sister (January 8th, 2013, Algonquin Books) and I’ve only found the time to review it now. I wish I read it earlier since it’s simply breathtaking in its delicacy and prose.
“These cups are over one hundred years old,” Megumi says. Foreigners never understand the significance, but she says it anyway. It’s not that the age itself is important or that one hundred years is particularly old, but that for one hundred years people have been sitting across from each other drinking tea out of these same cups, a long string of moments that have come and gone never to return, and in that whole time the only thing that hasn’t changed is the cups.
P.S It wasn’t until when I sat down to write the review for this novel that I realized how genius the cover was. Hikikomori is a person who shuts themselves away from the world and by taking the first two letters of the word, you get the word “Hi”, which means that the person isn’t shutting themselves off. The designers at Algonquin, you guys are geniuses!
Review copy provided by the publisher