Tag Archives: Yasutaka Tsutsui

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.