RaveFinancial Times (UK)Tempting as it is, People from My Neighbourhood is not a book to rush. It is slim — palm-sized, made for carrying around — and the contents, too, seem light: short, whimsical stories spun in an almost childlike writing style ... But these tales of a common-or-garden Japanese neighbourhood, peopled with children that never age, maybe-ghosts and mean-spirited siblings, are not to be rushed. Far better to digest a few at a time and leave them to marinate in the mind; they will stay with you all day ... The interlinking short stories in this collection are fairy tales in the best Brothers Grimm tradition: naïf, magical and frequently veering into the macabre ... Sparky and delightful ... Kawakami’s clean narrative style is very much her own ... Excellent.
Kikuko Tsumura, trans. by Polly Barton
PositiveFinancial Times (UK)The novel, translated into English by Polly Barton, coalesces around five chapters, each based on a new job, but characters and buildings hop around in different guises ... Tsumura’s is an irreverent but thoughtful voice, with light echoes of Haruki Murakami ... As a disquisition on the value of work, the book is uncannily timely — working from home has left many questioning their employment ... Tsumura, who herself quit her first job after workplace harassment, has nonetheless produced a novel as smart as is quietly funny.
PositiveThe Financial Times... a gripping read ... Cain does his material proud ... Cain marshals his material around episodes and milestones. This allows for a few cliffhanger chapter endings, while also enabling the characters’ foibles to shine through ... Cain knows his material well. A pity, then, that after showcasing his credentials — interviews with 400 people, recipient of certain leaked documents — the book almost immediately plunges into liberal quotes from broadcasters and print media ... There are plenty of times when this works; Samsung has after all attracted widespread interest. At other times it is simply puzzling. It does not take an opinion writer from Bloomberg to explain that the merger ratio for a linchpin deal was an utter horror ... There are also a few too many clumsy efforts at inserting himself into the story — a de rigueur requirement for business books these days ... Still, these are small quibbles. Like all good business books, Samsung Rising ends with many loose ends.