Reading guide for The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World

A Novel

by Laura Imai Messina

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai  Messina X
The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai  Messina
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Published:
    Mar 2021, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse First Impression Reviewers
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide will contain spoilers!

Inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with a disconnected "wind" phone where people go to talk to their lost loved ones, The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World tells the story of Yui's pilgrimage to the phone booth after losing her mother and daughter to the 2011 tsunami. The book explores Yui's grief and healing, as well as the loss shared by the people she encounters and connects with along the way. Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, this beautiful novel is the signpost pointing to the hope that can come after.

  1. What are some of the different ways the book portrays the relationship between parent and child? What does that relationship mean to Yui throughout the novel?
  2. Throughout the book, almost everything is permeated by a kind of duality, that happiness can come with fear, grief can come with beauty, etc. What are some dualities in the book that spoke to you and how do they dictate they ways in which the characters approach the world?
  3. How does wind define or enhance the most important moments in this story?
  4. Did you want to know more about Susuki-san? About his background, education, or experience that led him to install the phone?
  5. What does the man with the picture frame symbolize in the story?
  6. A professional writer who plans to title his upcoming book The Age of Immortality suggests that his son drowned because of "bad luck." How does luck enter or affect any character's life in this novel?
  7. How did you feel about the short chapters with lists and other details of daily life?
  8. Why do you think Yui couldn't bring herself to talk on the phone?
  9. What role does memory play in the book and what are some of the different perceptions of what it means to preserve things and people who have been lost?
  10. Yui thinks to herself about how she might have cut herself into two: the world of the living and the world of the dead. How does this separation play out over the course of the novel?
  11. How does the novel play with time? How does grief affect the way people perceive time in the book? Why do you think the author jumped from past to present to future in the book?


Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of The Overlook Press. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Grieving Places

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    Migrations
    by Charlotte McConaghy
    Migrations, Australian author Charlotte McConaghy's literary fiction debut, earned a notably high ...
  • Book Jacket: The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel
    Kristin Harmel's historical novel The Forest of Vanishing Stars was very well-received by our First ...
  • Book Jacket: African Europeans
    African Europeans
    by Olivette Otele
    The nexus of Africans and Europeans is not a recent historical development. Rather, the peoples of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Killing Hills
    The Killing Hills
    by Chris Offutt
    The personified hills of the novel's title foreshadow the mood of this brooding and ominous tale. ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
Migrations
by Charlotte McConaghy
A breathtaking page-turner and an ode to our threatened world.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Sunset Route
    by Carrot Quinn

    A beautiful memoir about forgiveness, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of nature.

Win This Book!
Win The Debt Trap

The Debt Trap
by Josh Mitchell

"A meticulous, eye-opening history of the US student debt crisis."
—Publishers Weekly

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

A T I A Teapot

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.