Fiction Book Reviews

Literary Fiction | The Phone Box at the Edge of the World | Laura Imai Messina

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The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is written by Laura Imai Messina and translated from Italian by Lucy Rand.

Book cover for The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina is published by Manilla Press and from tomorrow, is available to purchase in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats.  The paperback publishes 4th March 2021.

We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.

Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box 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 box spreads, people travel to it from miles around.

Soon Yui makes her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

What happens next will warm your heart, even when it feels as though it is breaking.

When you’ve lost everything, what can you find . . ?


I have felt privileged to be a part of Yui’s path as she moves from grief and darkness into love and light.  From guarding emotions as protection not to feel any more pain to some really tender moments, through Yui I’ve experienced an array of emotions.  Do you experience the mixed emotions of a life moving on or do you let the fear of loss wrap around you and stifle your feelings and actions?  Can you have joy filled moments again?

Takeshi and Yui’s meeting and the wind phone is a catalyst that doesn’t just impact on their lives.  It’s clear that even though visitors live miles apart, this is a tight knit community who watch out for each other.

I wanted to mention the short interluding chapters.  At times quirky, they say a lot with only a few words.  I enjoyed this addition to the story unfolding and they hold a lot of weight.  One that packed an emotional punch for me was ‘The Things Plus One That Hana and Akiko Loved Doing Together.’

You don’t want to miss this beautiful story that is inspired by true events.  It’s a light in the dark for anyone struggling with making a life after grief, after darkness and pain.  Take hope and inspiration.  Take love and forgiveness.  Live your life.

Laura Imai Messina was born in Rome and graduated in Literature from the Sapienza University.

She moved to Tokyo at the age of twenty-three to improve her language and has lived permanently in Japan ever since. She obtained a first level doctorate in Comparative Culture at International Christian University with a thesis on the Japanese writer Ogawa Yōko and at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies she obtained a PhD with a comparative thesis on the subject of materiality in Japanese and European literature. He is currently a contract teacher of Italian language in some of the most prestigious universities in the capital.

In March 2011 she founded the blog “Japan Mon Amour” and its facebook page which over time has become a point of reference for fans of the Rising Sun and a window on daily life in the Japanese metropolis. The page has more than 100,000 subscribers to date.

Passionate about both the high and “low” culture of the Rising Sun, she spends her time writing novels in Tokyo cafes and on the trains of the many lines that cross the capital. She lives between Kamakura and Tokyo with her husband Ryōsuke, her sons Sōsuke and Emilio, and their dog Gigia.  Twitter:  @LaImaiMessina  Facebook: lauraimaimessina.writer  Instagram: lauraimaimessina

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I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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