FAR EAST, SOUTH ASIA AND AUSTRALASIA
Translated from the Japanese by Eric Selland
“What would you sacrifice for an extra day of life?”
This novel has sold over 1 million copies in Japan, and has been made into a film. I spotted the book in a branch of Waterstones when I was visiting family, and was attracted by the title, and the cover design.
Don’t judge a book by its cover! I didn’t much enjoy it, but it was mercifully short.
The book is written from the perspective of a young man who discovers that he is dying from a brain tumour. He has few personal connections, and is estranged from his father following the death of his mother several years earlier. His closest companion is his cat Cabbage.
The unnamed protagonist is given the chance to make a kind of Mephistophelesian deal with the devil – amusingly dressed in dodgy Hawaiian shirts – who allows him to remove one thing from the world in return for an extra day of life. How far will our hero take it?
The book is an easy read, written with humour and a positive message about connecting with others and not wasting hours fiddling about on your phone.
However, the names of the protagonist’s pets were the most enjoyable part of the book for me. The rest seemed derivative and banal, with the narrator having lived his life without progressing beyond base-level self-awareness.