The Lunchtime reading group met in February to discuss “The Tightrope walkers smile by Gabriel Crane.
The story is mainly about Toru and Naoko and their doomed relationship. Toru is a fairly anonymous middle class student in 1960s Japan who falls for the troubled Naoko. When she goes into a refuge Toru has to get on with his life and forms an attachment to the fun-loving Midori. However, he is still in love with Naoko and this complicates things and doesn’t help his troubled mind. The story is funny yet sad, a love story and yet not. It is beautifully written and well translated. It was not without its faults though. The 1960s background did not come over all that well and the book was somewhat depressing with suicide being a constant feature. Although Toru was a sympathetic character on the whole, he did come over as selfish at times and this did not always gel well with the rest of the story. The other characters were all interesting and there were some very touching and surprising moments, such as when Toru spent some time with Midori’s dying father. But it is a book worth reading