Summary and book reviews of The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina

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
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  • Published:
    Mar 9, 2021, 416 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

The international bestselling novel sold in 21 countries, about grief, mourning, and the joy of survival, inspired by a real phone booth in Japan with its disconnected "wind" phone, a place of pilgrimage and solace since the 2011 tsunami.

When Yui loses both her mother and her daughter in the tsunami, she begins to mark the passage of time from that date onward: Everything is relative to March 11, 2011, the day the tsunami tore Japan apart, and when grief took hold of her life. Yui struggles to continue on, alone with her pain.

Then, one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone booth in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone booth spreads, people travel to it from miles around.

Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone booth, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Instead she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of her mother's death.

Simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming, The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World is the signpost pointing to the healing that can come after.

Chapter 3



As she played around with the satnav, Yui tried desperately not to be sick.

The view of the sea had that effect on her for the first few minutes every time she saw it. As though, just by looking at it, the water would rush into her mouth, choking her. So she would quickly stuff something else in her mouth, a square of chocolate or a sweet, and within moments she would be used to the sight and the spasms would ease.

In the month following the tsunami, she had lived on a six-and-a-half-by-ten-foot sheet of canvas in an elementary-school gymnasium with 120 other people. And yet she would never again feel as lonely as she had in that place.

Despite the heavy snowfall, almost unheard of in March, she would go outside as often as she could. She would squeeze through a crack in the wall of the school playground and cling to a tree that seemed firmly rooted to the earth. From there she would contemplate the ocean, now back in its correct position, and the crater of rubble ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

The Times (London)
A story about the dogged survival of hope when all else is lost ... Messina shows us that even in the face of a terrible tragedy, such as an earthquake or a loss of a child, the small things - a cup of tea, a proffered hand - can offer a way ahead. Its meditative minimalism makes it a striking haiku of the human heart.

Stylist
Carefully told and with great care, this feels a particularly resonating story right now.

Cosmopolitan (UK)
This book is one to read now.

Heat
Spare and poetic, this beautiful book is both a small, quiet love story and a vast, expansive meditation on grieving and loss.

Bookbag (UK)
This is a beautiful book. And a timely one. It tells a story about the aftermath of a disaster, long after the disaster. It tells of memories of the first few weeks after horror struck, but more it tells about the years after. If we're not directly affected, we lose sight of the years after that others have to endure. Or survive.

Kirkus Reviews
A must-read…a beautifully written book…Messina writes in a way that’s evocative of Kazuo Ishiguro but in an opposite way: While Ishiguro leads with comfort and hints at the sadness to come, Messina offers grief and sadness first but offers the reader a trail of breadcrumbs toward future happiness

Author Blurb Christy Lefteri, bestselling author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo
This beautiful novel tells a story of universal loss and the power of love. It will remain engraved in my heart and mind forever. During these difficult times we face, it addresses questions that we might all have—how to connect with those we have loved and lost and how to allow ourselves to live and to love again. Beautifully written, sensitive and evocative, it paints a picture of an inner and outer world that is infused with both tragedy and hope. It moved me to tears and made me want to speak my own secret thoughts in the phone box at the edge of the world. Absolutely breathtaking and stunning.

Author Blurb Joanna Glen, author of The Other Half of Augusta Hope
Before I got started, I already loved the phone booth at the edge of the world. But then I loved everything else. Especially the beautiful prose, powerful but held back, like grief. And the characters—emerging blinking from their tragedies, hurt, and hesitant—but ultimately hopeful. It was a joy to read. Mesmerizing.

Author Blurb Clare Macintosh, New York Times bestselling author of I Let You Go and After the End
A message of hope for anyone lost, frightened, or grieving. Beautiful.

Reader Reviews

Antoinette B

your fragility determines your story
Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of "The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World" by Laura Imai Messina which is a fictional tale based on the real Wind phone in Japan. " ... life decays, countless cracks form over time. But it was ...   Read More

Susan W. (Leesburg, VA)

Wonderful
This book presents grief and healing and love in a wonderfully delicious words and imagery. For anyone who has known grief, the wind phone shows a way out of darkness. The storytelling takes the reader on a quiet yet powerful journey. I highly ...   Read More

Jana G. (Houston, TX)

God is the Wind
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It had a lovely ethereal flow. I loved all the characters and the development of each one in their grief and the impact of Bell Gardia had in their healing. A wonderful book!

Mary Anne R. (Towson, MD)

The Phone of the Wind
This is the best novel I've read in a long time. I felt the spiritual message of the story and thought of it more spiritual versus fantasy. From the beginning I was touched by Laura Imai Messina's poetic manner of writing. She developed her ...   Read More

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