Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Perfect Day for Love Letters 1 by George Asakura – 208 pages

A Perfect Day for Love Letters 1 by George Asakura – 208 pages

In this collection of short stories, people reveal themselves to each other with secrets and intimacies through the written word, in ways they can’t face-to-face, and discover more about each other than they ever knew.  In “Love Letters in the Library”, Ririko is intrigued by a series of letters from a secret admirer who watches her work in the library, only to find out she’s been writing a fellow student she dislikes, the clownish Emoto.  But after a poem, a snowball fight, and an exchange of books, they are reading together quietly in the library.  In “To The One Who Doesn’t Know Me”, Ayoko finds a letter meant for the pretty Katase from a tough guy covered in tattoos, Masamura.  She can’t believe the pure heart under his tough exterior, and puts an unsigned letter in his locker.  They begin exchanging notes, she cuts her hair, and he invites her to the lake, where she secretly watches him play his guitar, and they see a falling star together.  They arrange to meet on the roof of the school, but Ayoko starts to chicken out, and writes him that she lost her key.  Masamura responds with a flurry of paper airplanes from the roof with the note written on them, “I can open the door for you.”  Masamura is surprised to see who has been writing him, but he reaches out to her, and “when I am holding his colorful hand,” Ayoko says to herself, “I have to stop myself from going crazy…”

“Flowers Blooming in the Snow” is a darker tale.  Kumashiro gets a letter from the lonely, solitary Miyashita asking that he not forget her if she disappears, and he spends the story trying to put a smile on her face, discovering her secrets along the way.  In “Love Letter Panic,” Morimura gets an anonymous love letter, and rushes around school trying to guess which boy sent it.  In “The Mailman’s Love,” a mailman reads letters to a blind girl, who doesn’t know the letters aren’t from the man she knows, but are being written by the mailman himself.

At turns romantic, tragic, poignant, sad, and funny, these stories have a little bit of everything, and I’d like to see what happens in the next collection.

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