Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Book Review: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

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BOOK review
Started on: 11 March 2018
Finished on: 18 March 2018

Title : Rainbirds
Author : Clarissa Goenawan
Publisher : Soho Press
Pages :  336 pages / 337 pages (e-book)
Year of Publication : 2018
Price : Rp 361,000 (http://www.periplus.com/)
Rp 89,000 (https://www.gramedia.com/)

Rating: 4/5

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"I didn't think anyone could hate her enough to kill her in such a gruesome way. Or was I wrong about her? If I had made an effort to understand my sister, could I have changed her fate?"
Ren Ishida was taken aback when he received the news of his sister's sudden death. Keiko Ishida was brutally stabbed and there's no clue as to what happened that rainy night. Ren immediately departs from Tokyo to Akakawa, a small town where Keiko lived for several years. Upon his arrival in Akakawa, Ren found himself offered the opportunity to continue where Keiko left off—teaching at a local cram school and also a bizarre arrangement with a politician couple that grants him free lodging. Without giving much thought, Ren accepted those offers, not knowing the secrets that will be revealed about his sister's death.

"Life was such a mystery to me. Who would have guessed that my sister, of all people, would have gone so early, and so tragically?"
During his time as a teacher, Ren becomes acquainted with a rebellious student with beautiful hands named Rio Nakajima. At the same time, he started discovering the dark lives of the politicanMr. and Mrs. Katou. In the process of getting to know the people in Akakawa, Ren slowly discovered Keiko's past that he never knew before. By the end of his stay in that small town, Ren would uncover the shocking truth behind everything that happened.
"If I traced the paths my sister had taken in life, maybe I would finally understand the things she had never said."
image source: here. edited by me.
This book came to my attention when I read that it was reviewed by Kirkus, and I was especially fascinated when I found out that it's written by an Indonesian-born Singaporean. Besides that, this book will also be translated and published by one of Indonesia's biggest publisher company, Gramedia Pustaka Utama. Since I cannot wait for the translation to published, I finally decide to read the original version first. I'd have to say, this book gripped me right from the start. Although it's quite a slow-paced read, the mystery that was being gradually revealed has a very eerie and haunting vibe to it. I think the author has successfully built the right atmosphere for this thrilling novel.
"Love comes when you least expect it. That's why people call it falling in love. You cannot learn to fall, nor do you ever plan to. You just happen to fall."
The story is written from the perspective of the main character, Ren, who told the story as he tries to uncover the truth behind his sister's death while reminiscing his memories with her. He was especially fond of his sister, Keiko, who took care of him when their parents didn't. That's why Ren was eager to resolve the mystery behind it all. Unfortunately, I have to say that none of the characters actually stood out for me. I don't really find Ren's character that interesting and I was struggling to relate to or sympathize with him.

The one person that intrigued me the most was Keiko, whose story is told through pieces of puzzle that Ren found from her life in Akakawa. Keiko was very secretive for years ever since the incident with a teacher (not going to elaborate this to avoid spoilers), and her relationship with Ren grew quite distant over the years. So when Ren finally pieced the puzzle together with the clues that he discovered, I was utterly shocked by the revelation 😱😱. However, I do think it's overly convenient/coincidental that the clues came from the few people that Ren interacted with constantly—and that all of them have some sort of connection with Keiko. But then again, Akakawa is a small town, so I'll let it pass πŸ˜‚
"Perhaps she wanted to free herself. And like those birds, she ended up dying too soon."
"The trouble with emotional pain is, you can't see the wound. But it's still there. It's real."
I don't always enjoy slow-paced narrative, but I was constantly intrigued and eager to know how it's going to end. (Thankfully it didn't end up being a horror story like I thought it would be at the start πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚) The writing itself feels simple yet elegant; sending chills down my spine whenever something eerily mysterious comes up. I think it's the perfect book to read during a rainy, gloomy daybecause it certainly suits the tone of the story. There are many unexpected twists and turns that happened throughout the story which I find fascinating to read. To put it simply, despite the things that I didn't particularly like about this book, I definitely enjoyed it from start to finish. Kudos to Clarissa Goenawan for her amazing debut! Looking forward to her future works. 😊😊
"If I'd stayed in Tokyo, I would never have learned any of this. But I'd made up my mind to pursue the truth. Was I better off knowing, or not?"
  by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

2 comments:

  1. Yep, this book has a slow-paced narrative but way Clarissa write the story in each part makes reader fascinated enough to keep reading :)

    ReplyDelete

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