Lonely Castle In The Mirror (Hardcover)
Probably my favorite book of the year.
Themes of friendship, loneliness, bullying, longing to belong.
Narnia-esque magical realism, but with teenagers who all find they too have been victims of bullying. Each person has their story and each discovers they have more in common than they initially thought.
I was bawling by the end of this book. This was incredibly original and made me feel feelings. Read this if you want a somewhat sad, but not depressing read.
For fans of Murakami.— From Monica's Picks
A Studio Ghibli-esque work of Japanese translation “that lays bare the anxieties and desperation—and the small triumphs—of adolescence” (Locus), for fans of Mieko Kawakami’s Heaven.
Seven students find unusual common ground in this warm, puzzle-like Japanese bestseller laced with gentle fantasy and compassionate insight.
Bullied to the point of dropping out of school, Kokoro’s days blur together as she hides in her bedroom, unable to face her family or friends. As she spirals into despair, her mirror begins to shine; with a touch, Kokoro is pulled from her lonely life into a resplendent, bizarre fairytale castle guarded by a strange girl in a wolf mask. Six other students have been brought to the castle, and soon this marvelous refuge becomes their playground.
The castle has a hidden room that can grant a single wish, but there are rules to be followed, and breaking them will have dire consequences. As Kokoro and her new acquaintances spend more time in their new sanctuary, they begin to unlock the castle’s secrets and, tentatively, each other’s.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a mesmerizing, heart-warming novel about the unexpected rewards of embracing human connection.
“[A] moving psychological journey . . . blazingly honest . . . Tsujimura is a master at projecting these young anxieties onto the page, offering hints and shadows and silhouettes of what the world might be like once we finally grow up, and how difficult it is to take that first step.” —Tor.com
“A gorgeous, wrenching fantasy that lays bare the anxieties and desperation – as well as small triumphs – of adolescence.” —Locus
“In a world where there is so much untruth, so much altered reality, so many superficial existences forming even more superficial relationships, this book turns back the clock and reminds us of what is real, and what truly matters: compassion and kindness, the strength in our bonds, and how we can find those right beside us.” —The Yorkshire Times
“A moving, reflective and surprising novel . . . Anyone who has ever struggled with feeling isolated, had difficulties at school, or had mental health struggles, will find this novel to be a cleansing balm.” —Culturefly
“[A] respectful, moving novel about teenage bullying in the Tokyo suburbs . . . Tsujimura shows how easily misunderstandings and miscommunications can escalate, and treats everyone—even the bullies—with nuance.” —The Japan Times
“An innovative and tender blend of social commentary and magical realism.” —The Japan Society Review
“Genuinely affecting . . . a story about collaboration, empathy and sharing truths, a modern, all-ages fairy tale that should appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and Studio Ghibli animations.” —The Financial Times
“Hopeful and heartbreakingly sweet without ever being saccharine, this character-focused tale of finding unexpected community unfolds remarkably gently, eschewing a typical Western plot structure. Readers will leave with their faith in humanity restored.” —Publishers Weekly’s “Best Books of 2022”
“Part Miyazaki fairytale, part teen romance, it’s strange and beautiful – imagine the offspring of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and The Virgin Suicides.” —The Guardian