Mina's Matchbox: A Novel (Hardcover)

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Mina's Matchbox: A Novel By Yoko Ogawa, Stephen B. Snyder (Translated by) Cover Image
By Yoko Ogawa, Stephen B. Snyder (Translated by)
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From the award-winning, psychologically astute author of The Memory Police, a hypnotic, introspective novel about an affluent Japanese family navigating buried secrets, and their young house guest who uncovers them.

In the spring of 1972, twelve-year-old Tomoko leaves her mother behind in Tokyo and boards a train alone for Ashiya, a coastal town in Japan, to stay with her aunt’s family. Tomoko’s aunt is an enigma and an outlier in her working-class family, and her magnificent home—and handsome foreign husband, the president of a soft drink company—are symbols of that status. The seventeen rooms are filled with German-made furnishings; there are sprawling gardens and even an old zoo where the family’s pygmy hippopotamus resides. The family is just as beguiling as their mansion—Tomoko’s dignified and devoted aunt, her German great-aunt, and her dashing, charming uncle, who confidently sits as the family’s patriarch. At the center of the family is Tomoko’s cousin Mina, a precocious, asthmatic girl of thirteen who draws Tomoko into an intoxicating world full of secret crushes and elaborate storytelling.

In this elegant jewel box of a book, Yoko Ogawa invites us to witness a powerful and formative interlude in Tomoko’s life. Behind the family's sophistication are complications that Tomoko struggles to understand—her uncle’s mysterious absences, her great-aunt’s experience of the Second World War, her aunt’s misery. Rich with the magic and mystery of youthful experience, Mina’s Matchbox is an evocative snapshot of a moment frozen in time—and a striking depiction of a family on the edge of collapse.

About the Author

YOKO OGAWA has won every major Japanese literary award. Her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, and Zoetrope: All-Story. Her works include The Memory Police, The Diving Pool, a collection of three novellas; The Housekeeper and the Professor; Hotel Iris; and Revenge. She lives in Ashiya, Japan.

Praise For…

Praise for Mina's Matchbox 

A Most Anticipated Book of the Summer from Publishers Weekly

Praise for Yoko Ogawa’s Previous Work

“A masterpiece…A rare work of patient and courageous vision.”
The Guardian on The Memory Police
“Ogawa’s fable echoes the themes of George Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, and Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude, but it has a voice and power all its own.”
Time on The Memory Police
“An intimate, suspenseful drama of courage and endurance.”
The Wall Street Journal on The Memory Police
“Gorgeous, cinematic…This novel has all the charm and restraint of any by Ishiguro or Kenzaburō Ōe, and the whimsy of Murakami.”
Los Angeles Times on The Housekeeper and the Professor

“Deceptively elegant…This is one of those books written in such lucid, unpretentious language that reading it is like looking into a deep pool of clear water. Dive into Yoko Ogawa’s world…and you find yourself tugged by forces more felt than seen.”
The New York Times Book Review on The Housekeeper and the Professor
“Ogawa’s fiction reflects like a fun-house mirror…[Like] Haruki Murakami, Ogawa writes stories that float free of any specific culture, anchoring themselves instead in the landscape of the mind.”
Washington Post on The Diving Pool

“The stories seem to penetrate right to the heart of the world…[Ogawa’s] spare technique is very skilled. Every word is put to work.”
Hilary Mantel on The Diving Pool

“Ogawa has long been recognized as one of Japan’s best writers of the postwar generation.”
BookForum on The Diving Pool

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593316085
ISBN-10: 0593316088
Publisher: Pantheon
Publication Date: August 13th, 2024
Pages: 288
Language: English