REVIEW: All the Lovers in the Night

If you’re on bookTok, you’ve seen the rise of unhinged, sad-girl books from authors such as Sally Rooney, Ottessa Moshfegh and more. Recently, I’ve been introduced to Kawakami Mieko’s Breast and Eggs, which I am looking forward to get a copy the next time I go to a bookstore.

I was very surprised to see this on NetGalley, and had to give it a try since I’ve been hearing so much about the author. After reading this, I guess the ‘unhinged, sad-girl’ genre is definitely a genre for me and my big box of tissues.


All the Lovers in the Night
by Kawakami Mieko, translated by Sam Bett and David Boyd

get it here

BOOK SUMMARY

Fuyuko Irie is a freelance copy editor in her mid-thirties. Working and living alone in a city where it is not easy to form new relationships, she has little regular contact with anyone other than her editor, Hijiri, a woman of the same age but with a very different disposition. When Fuyoku stops one day on a Tokyo street and notices her reflection in a storefront window, what she sees is a drab, awkward, and spiritless woman who has lacked the strength to change her life and decides to do something about it.

As the long overdue change occurs, however, painful episodes from Fuyuko’s past surface and her behavior slips further and further beyond the pale. All the Lovers in the Night is acute and insightful, entertaining and engaging; it will make readers laugh, and it will make them cry, but it will also remind them, as only the best books do, that sometimes the pain is worth it.

BOOK REVIEW

Rating: 4 out of 5.

*A review copy was provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was so scared of being hurt that I’d done nothing. I was so scared of failing, of being hurt, that I chose nothing. I did nothing.

Kawakami Mieko, All the Lovers in the Night

t/w: sexual assault, alcoholism

I find this book so intriguing. Compared to many books that I’ve read, nothing much happens in this one, yet I find myself wanting to continue flipping the page.

There’s something interesting about the mundane, every day life of a person, where nothing happens but you follow them through their day, their thoughts, their past…and suddenly you’re halfway through the book. Kawakami’s writing is addictive, and I can’t put a finger on why. Maybe it’s how the main characters are flawed, have a million thoughts in their heads, live a rather uneventful life unlike what we see on TV. They are relatable, that’s why I want to read more.

All the lovers in the Night follows Fuyuko Irie, a freelance copy editor in her mid-30s, living alone with barely any social interactions on a daily basis. She could leave her phone uncharged for days, barely leave her house except to the convenience store and library, and not have any visitors. Prior to this, I had no clue what a copy editor does, and I’m glad this book describes it in a rather realistic way instead of through the rose-tinted version I had in my mind. While not much really happens, a part of the book shows the contrast in the lives of Fuyuko and her 2 of her friends of the same age, Hijiri and Noriko. In the mid 30s, one is alone, one has an active social life, and the other, in an unfulfilled marriage and with children.

I’ve finished this book in 4 days, felt a range of emotions such as secondhand embarrassment, awkwardness, happiness, and cried and cried so much. It’s definitely a type of book that I’ve not read before, and am excited to read more like this.

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