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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Review: The Easy Life in Kamusari by Shion Miura

The Easy Life in Kamusari
by Shion Miura
Narrated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

Thanks so much to Over The River Public Relations for this copy,

Publisher: Amazon Crossing
Publish Date: November 1, 2021
206 Pages
Series: Forest #1
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Translated, Cultural

From Shion Miura, the award-winning author of The Great Passage, comes a rapturous novel where the contemporary and the traditional meet amid the splendor of Japan’s mountain way of life.

Yuki Hirano is just out of high school when his parents enroll him, against his will, in a forestry training program in the remote mountain village of Kamusari. No phone, no internet, no shopping. Just a small, inviting community where the most common expression is “take it easy.”

At first, Yuki is exhausted, fumbles with the tools, asks silly questions, and feels like an outcast. Kamusari is the last place a city boy from Yokohama wants to spend a year of his life. But as resistant as he might be, the scent of the cedars and the staggering beauty of the region have a pull.

Yuki learns to fell trees and plant saplings. He begins to embrace local festivals, he’s mesmerized by legends of the mountain, and he might be falling in love. In learning to respect the forest on Mt. Kamusari for its majestic qualities and its inexplicable secrets, Yuki starts to appreciate Kamusari’s harmony with nature and its ancient traditions.

In this warm and lively coming-of-age story, Miura transports us from the trappings of city life to the trials, mysteries, and delights of a mythical mountain forest.

My Review:

I'm so happy thta this year has me reading more translated and diverse books... Believe you me, my feet are busy kicking my own ass.  And coming of age... I don't know why but they are such swoon worthy reads - something we can ALL relate to in one way or another, no matter the culture - we all had to go through IT.  Yuki's journey is an absolute pleasure to be on.

There's a part of me that would love to be truly disconnected from our every day life and just be one with nature (as long as I'm being one with someone else who knows what to do out there of course). But then I, if I'm being 100% honest, would absolutely miss the convenience of all the shiny things that are electronics. 

One thing I love about Asian culture is the lesson behind the beautiful story.  I know that's kind of what fairy tales also include(ish) but for some reason, the way in which it is done through any Asian culture, somehow resonates more with me.  Yes yes, I know I'm half Korean and maybe that's partly why but it's like when Mr. Miyagi catches that fly with the chopsticks - it's elegant. Ah, I'm making no sense so let's go back to this book.

READ IT. I do think that sometimes translations can come across a bit "dry" for lack of better terms which is why I had veered away from them in the past.  Like Yuki, I have grown.  Yuki, right after high school when you feel your first sense of freedom, gets immediately sent to a forestry training program?!  Well, I never....!!  Seriously y'all, this is such a unique take on coming of age and done in a very thoughtful way.


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