Why did I love this book?
Perhaps it's because I’ve lived in Fukui and have been to Echizen where the famous bamboo dolls are made that I found this novel so compelling. The novel’s uniqueness comes partly from its focus on a character who makes traditional bamboo dolls produced close to where I now live in Kanazawa, an hour north of Echizen, and part from the style of storytelling, which might be described as sparse but richly imagistic, and evocative of an all-but-lost past. The novel can easily be viewed as a modern folk tale, and moments unfold in the rural setting of 1920s Fukui that border on the mysterious-if-not-quite-supernatural. The relationship between the doll-maker and his wife is indeed strange, yet much can be extrapolated beyond that strangeness through all that’s left unsaid and un-acted on.