Strange Weather in Tokyo
by Hiromi Kawakami (read by Clare Corbett)
Audible

Hiromi Kawakami is probably my favourite discovery of the past couple of years. This is largely thanks to her strange, funny and moving novel The Nakano Thrift Shop (2016), and also her story collection, Record of a Night Too Brief (2017).

Strange Weather in Tokyo, whose publication in 2012 was the first contact for many English-language readers,illustrates Kawakami’s flair for portraying loneliness.

Tsukiko is 37, bored, works in an office and enjoys a drink – sake or beer, she isn’t fussy. One night, she meets the man who taught her Japanese at school two decades before. Their quiet, affectionate but restrained encounters direct the novel in a way impossible in reality – who would notice such an unassuming odd couple, except each other?

Clare Corbett’s gentle voice is perfect for Tsukiko and her deceptively simple observations.