Strangers by Taichi Yamada

I’m a huge fan of Japanese literature and Strangers is definitely one of my favourites. It’s a ghost story, but not a typical one at all, and not especially scary, but that doesn’t really matter, as Yamada creates such a tremendous mood throughout this novella.

Harada is a jaded scriptwriter, a very successful one, who’s just come off a divorce, and he’s moving into his new apartment block. It’s very quiet there… too quiet… in fact Harada has only one other neighbour in the entire building, a beautiful woman called Kei, but Harada rebuffs her approach and resumes his solitary existence in his corner of the apartment.

Then one day he runs into his parents, and he can’t believe his eyes, because his parents have been dead for many years. This book is essentially about loneliness, longing, grief, the inability we have to let go of things that have passed on through.

I often feel like I’m a shell of a human, incapable of baring emotion, like crying at the climax of a particularly devastating film, but Strangers is written so stylishly, I felt very close with the ending here, it is so intense.

Beautiful. Haunting. Sad. Fantastic read, highly recommend it.