The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui


Title: The Girl who leapt through Time
Author: Yasutaka Tsutsui
Published: This edition: 9th May 2011 (UK). First published in Japan in 1967.
Format: Finished Paperback
Pages: 96
RRP: £7.99
Rating: 11/12+

One of Tsutsui’s best-known and most popular works in his native Japan, The Girl Who Leapt through Time is the story of fifteen-year-old schoolgirl Kazuko, who accidentally discovers that she can leap back and forth in time. In her quest to uncover the identity of the mysterious figure that she believes to be responsible for her paranormal abilities, she’ll constantly have to push the boundaries of space and time, and challenge the notions of dream and reality.

I was instantly drawn to this book when I was offered to review it. I am fascinated by Japanese culture, and to read a book by a Japanese author (a popular and renowned one at that) was something I had not actually done before. So, to say I was a bit disappointed is a slight understatement. I really felt that this book, if given the chance and more pages, would have been a whole lot better, because then the characters and plot could have been developed further to become a much better book.

However, that is not to say I did not enjoy it. For the most part, this book was very entertaining to read. You would not think that it was actually first published in 1967 – the ideas are very contemporary. The language seemed somewhat stilted and child-like (even though the book is branded a young adult) but I think the problem was the translation.

Kazuko is the fifteen year old protagonist, and her best friends are Kazuo and Goro, who are boys. Sometimes when I was reading it particularly fast, I would mix up the two names Kazuko and Kazuo, and ultimately confuse myself in the process! I was left a little dumbfounded at the end – it was definitely an ending which seemed rushed – and I feel, if this book was actually left to explore the regions of 200 to 300 pages, it would have been a much more enjoyable read.

When I began to read the other small story included in the book – the 61 page “The Stuff that Nightmares are made of” – I was, again, confused. But then I did realise it was a different story altogether. I felt the theme, or the moral, behind this story was a lot better. Masako is completely terrified of heights and aims to try and face that fear so she can live a normal life, whilst she also helps her little brother face his fears. Although it was a lot shorter, I think the premise behind this novella was better than The Girl who Leapt through Time.

I will definitely have to read more of Tsutsui’s books. I was definitely disappointed by The Girl who Leapt through Time, but the actual quality of writing was good – the translation did slightly ruin moments – and I think reading a book by him which is not a short story will most likely leave me wanting more.

Rating
Plot: 6/10
The only problem I had with it was the fact that the plot (and the entire book) felt rushed.
Writing Quality: 9/10
The writing quality was very good. Unfortunately, sometimes the translation left language a little stilted – leaving the book in the past at times.
Originality: 9/10
It may not be the most original thing now – but it most definitely would have been when it was first published.
Characters: 7/10
If the book was longer, and the characters were given more time to develop so I could get to know them better, the characters would probably get near full marks.
Descriptions: 8/10
There were not many descriptions but I really really loved that it was set in Japan. It was really interesting to read about life then.

39/50 = 78%

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Thank you to Alma Books for providing the review copy.

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One response to “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui

  1. I’m glad you read it – sorry you didn’t enjoy it more. I didn’t have a problem with the names, but with a lot of my anime I’m used to having similar names in the same show, so it’s something I’m used to. I totally loved it.

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