#BookReview: Fukushima Dreams by Zelda Rhiando | @badzelda @unbound_digital @annecater #RandomThingsTours

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About the Book

Sachiko and her husband Harry live in a village on the North-east coast of Japan. They are both struggling to adapt to life as new parents to their infant son Tashi. In the aftermath of the tsunami, Sachiko wakes alone. Her family is missing. She begins a desperate search until radiation fallout from the Fukushima power plant forces her to leave the area. She moves to Tokyo, and a different life. Harry has fled to a refuge on an isolated mountain, abandoning his family. He lives there, haunted by guilt and hovering on the edge of sanity. Will they find each other and confront the question of their missing son?

 

My Thoughts

I’d not heard of Fukushima Dreams before I was offered a chance to read and review it for this blog tour but I am so very glad that it found its way to me. This is one of those really special novels that works its way into your heart and doesn’t leave, even after you’ve finished reading it.

Sachiko is caught up in a tsunami and when she wakes she is struggling to understand what has happened to her and where her husband and baby son are. She has survived and is alone in a crowded make-shift shelter. Unknown to her, her husband Harry fled their home during the initial earthquake and is sheltering in a hut on a mountain in the middle of nowhere.

I’ve struggled to write this review because Fukushima Dreams was so much more than I was expecting it to be and it’s taken hold of my thoughts and won’t let them go. This is such a beautiful, lyrical and almost dream-like novel. It’s a quiet story in many ways but it’s so powerful at the same time. It’s written in a way that you feel like you are right there with Sachiko as she struggles to comprehend what on earth has happened her and to her home.

The tsunami and the devastation it left in its wake are a large part of this novel but there is so much more to it too. We slowly come to find out that Sachiko is a new mum and has been struggling to bond with her baby. Her husband Harry was trying to write and was being driven to distraction by the baby’s constant crying and this young couple’s marriage was starting to fall apart. As a reader it’s clear that Sachiko has post-natal depression or something similar but within the novel they don’t seek medical help for her and she’s left feeling increasingly depressed and is isolating herself from the world. I felt such sympathy for her and was hoping that Harry would do something to help her but it seemed like he retreated into himself in order to work. I don’t think he understood that Sachiko couldn’t just snap out of it, and that she needed support.

As I was reading it felt like the tsunami, while clearly really happening, was also a metaphor for what happened to Sachiko when she had her baby. The fear, the confusion, the not knowing what to do or where to go, and finally the sheer overwhelming despair of ever finding normal again. And I also found that the way Harry deals with the earthquake by running away from his family and becoming so isolated on the mountain was like he was experiencing what Sachiko went through in her post-natal depression. The haze, the inability to think clearly and the sense of being so completely alone. There is real symmetry in the internal thought processes of the two characters and what is happening in the place they live. Everything has been in a state of chaos for a while and the tsunami compounds it all.

I was rooting for Sachiko to find out what happened to her husband and son, I can’t imagine what it must be like to experience a disaster on this scale and not know where your family are and if they survived. I wanted her to find some happiness. Seeing her journey as she begins to think about life again was so moving. The ending of this book is one that really makes you stop in your tracks though. I don’t want to say too much about what happens later in the novel because this really is a book to not know too much about before you read it. You need to pick it up and fall into the pages and experience this beautiful and heart-breaking novel yourself.

I finished reading Fukushima Dreams a few weeks ago now and I’ve since re-written this review quite a few times because I just can’t do it justice. It’s a simply incredible novel and I won’t ever forget it. Please just go get a copy and read it, it really is stunning!

A moving, lyrical novel about how people cope when the worst happens to them.

Many thanks to Unbound and Anne of Random Things Tours for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Fukushima Dreams is out now and available here.

 

About the Author

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Zelda Rhiando was born in Dublin and read English Literature at Cambridge. She lives in South London with her husband, two daughters and four cats, and is one of the founders of the Brixton BookJam. She is the author of two novels, Caposcripti and Fukushima Dreams.

 

Website: http://www.badzelda.com/

Twitter : @badzelda

 

You can find the rest of the stops on this tour at the following blogs:

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This Week in Books (28 Nov 2018)! What are you reading at the moment? #TWiB

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Today I’m taking in part in This Week in Books, which was started by Lipsyy Lost and Found! If you want to join in you just need to share what you’re reading now, what you’ve read over the last week, and what you hope to read next.

 

I’ve had a rough few days health wise with my asthma badly flaring up and as a result ending up on a course of steroids. Unfortunately I’m still struggling and I’ve had a reaction to the medication which has caused me to only sleep a few hours in total over the last few days. The only upside is the enforced rest has meant lots of reading and listening to audio books so I’ve got through a lot of books over the last week.

 

Now

 

Under the Wig by William Clegg

I downloaded this on a whim recently when I spotted it in the Read Now section on NetGalley. I’m so glad I did because it’s a really interesting look at what it is to be a barrister, and also to work on high-profile cases. I’m really enjoying it.

Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

I only started this last night so am only a couple of chapters in but I can tell I’m going to love getting lost in this novel. It’s beautiful and I’m so looking forward to reading more of it in the coming days.

 

Believe Me by JP Delaney

I got a copy of this from NetGalley but struggled to get into it so I bought the audiobook in a recent Audible sale and am enjoying it more now I’m listening to it. It’s not as good as I hoped it would be but it does have me intrigued and I’m keen to see how it’s all going to end.

Twenty-Six Seconds by Alexandra Zapruder

This is a fascinating read about Abraham Zapruder, the man who filmed the assassination of John F Kennedy. There is so much that I didn’t know about what the Zapruder family went through in the immediate aftermath, and for many, many years after. It’s such a good book and I definitely recommend it.

 

 

Then 

 

Snowy Nights at the Lonely Hearts Hotel by Karen King

This is such a lovely festive read, I really enjoyed it.  I read an ARC so I’ll definitely be reviewing this one soon.

Life to the Limit: My Life in Formula One by Jenson Button

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while as I was always a fan of Jenson Button in his F1 days. I picked up the audio book in a Black Friday deal on Audible and immediately started listening to it. I very much enjoyed this book, it was a look back over Jenson’s whole career but was also very much a tribute to his late father. I definitely recommend this book to F1 fans.

 

Fukushima Dreams by Zelda Rhiando

This book was sent to me for review and I’m so glad I picked it up to read. It’s a beautiful and moving look at the aftermath of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan a few years ago. This book left such a mark on me and I feel it will be one I’m thinking of for a long time to come.

The Mother of All Christmases by Milly Johnson

I requested this on NetGalley recently and have been so keen to read it. I really enjoyed it. It wasn’t as Christmassy all the way through as I was hoping but it was still a wonderful read and I loved it.

 

Snowday by B R Maycock

This book gave me real comfort and escape on a bad night with my asthma and I really got swept away in this lovely wintery read. I’ll be reviewing this on my blog very soon so keep an eye out for that.

How Not to be A Boy by Robert Webb

I got this book for Christmas last year and have been so keen to read it. I finally picked it up at the weekend and read it over two days. I really enjoyed this, even more than I thought I would (and I had high hopes for it).

 

The Wicked Boy by Kate Summerscale

I’d forgotten I owned this audiobook but when sorting through my audible books on my phone I spotted it and while it wasn’t on my non-fiction November TBR it seemed fitting to listen to it this month. I found this to be such a fascinating listen and I’m so glad I picked it up.

Cross Her Heart by Sarah Pinborough

I’ve had this on my TBR since it was published earlier this year and I finally picked it up this week. I really enjoyed this one but it wasn’t quite as good as Behind Her Eyes. I do love Sarah Pinborough’s writing though and would recommend this one.

 

The Upstarts by Brad Stone

This was one of my non-fiction November picks and I listened to the audio book. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I’d hoped, it just didn’t really work for me.

The Christmas Spirit by Susan Buchanan

I really enjoyed this festive read, it was a lovely novella set in the lead up to Christmas. I’ll be reviewing this for the blog tour in December!

 

 

Next

 

Bone Lines by Stephanie Bretherton

I’ve been really intrigued by this book so was delighted to be invited to read and review if for the forthcoming blog tour. I’m hoping to start this book in the coming days.

Attend by West Camel

Orenda Books can do no wrong in my eyes so I’m thrilled to have this book on my TBR for the week ahead. It sounds like such a good book and I know I’m in for a treat!

 

Odette by Jessica Duchen

I was also offered a copy of this book to read and review for the tour next month and I jumped at the chance. I’m fascinated to read this one and it feels like such a perfect read for these colder, darker days.

No One Cancels Christmas by Zara Stoneley

This is my next pick from my pile of festive reads and I’m really looking forward to this one.

 

 


 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in This Week in Books or WWW Wednesday please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂