The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

This is a slightly strange book. Not bad strange, more puzzling strange. It conveniently fell into my lap just in time for my Foreign Reading Challenge, and finding a Japanese book is hard enough that I was glad to read it.

Yasutaka Tsutsui, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is an old book, from 1967, but only recently translated by David Karashima, who has both a US and a UK background, which might explain why the story has an American flavour to it. The words. Otherwise it’s presumably thoroughly Japanese.

It’s also a rather short book, and shorter still when you consider that TGWLTT is only half of it, with another story, The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of, filling the second half of this volume. I wondered at first if they belonged together, somehow, but it doesn’t seem like it. Although, trying to follow the trail of history, I suspect they might both be short stories from a longer collection. But I could be wrong.

TGWLTT is obviously about time travel. A teenager finds herself in the right place, but at the wrong time. Yesterday. Her friends think she’s gone mad, but eventually she persuades them to believe her. And then she needs to work out what happened and why.

The second story is scarier. It’s about another teenage girl, and she is scared of certain things, but doesn’t know why. Her little brother has his own fears, and she sets out to try and understand what caused them both to feel quite so bad about what are almost everyday things.

Both stories are interesting. Probably more for their Japanese flavour than because they are especially exciting. They are sweet, if you can use that word about time travel and nightmares. Not being Japanese I can’t tell if they are true period pieces. They appear quite neutral, in a way.

The book is labelled Young Adult, but I’m not sure it is. I feel the interest might be more of an adult thing, despite both stories being ‘safe’ enough.


3 responses to “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

  1. I was originally going to show this movie (there’s an anime movie based on the book), to a group of cub scouts. As usual I screened the film beforehand even though it had a PG rating (quite safe in Australia).

    Luckily I did because there’s one phrase with sexual connotations which is repeated twice.

    I ended up not showing it.

  2. The animé is great, but it is rated as a 12 in the UK – probably more because of the train accident scene I would think . I think it is quite different from the book however. I have a copy and I look forward to reading it. I used to love Japanese literature in my younger years!

  3. Yes, what you are saying sounds nothing like the book. The book isn’t really for young children, and I suppose it’s a mistake to think that because a film is animated that it’s for really young children. The book was described as a YA novel, but I felt it was more of an adult book, but on a simplistic sort of level.

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