Title: Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa
Author: Benjamin Constable
Format: Paperback and eBook
Publisher: Gallery Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Literary Fiction / Mystery
Publication Date: 4 June, 2013
Pre-Order Now: Amazon § Barnes&Noble
About the Book:
What writer Benjamin Constable needs is a real-life adventure wilder than his rampant imagination. And who better to shake up his comfortable Englishman-in-Paris routine than the enigmatic Tomomi “Butterfly” Ishikawa, who has just sent a cryptic suicide note?
She’s planted a slew of clues—in the pages of her journal, on the hard drive of her computer, tucked away in public places, under flowerpots, and behind statues. Heartbroken, confused, and accompanied by an imaginary cat, Ben embarks upon a scavenger hunt leading to charming and unexpected spaces, from the hidden alleys of Paris to the cobblestone streets of New York City.
But Butterfly’s posthumous messages are surprisingly well informed for the words of a dead person, and they’re full of confessions of a past darkened by insanity, betrayal, and murder. The treasures Ben is unearthing are installments of a gruesome memoir. Now he must draw a clear line between the real and surreal if he is to save himself, Butterfly, and what remains of their crazy and amazing friendship.
I devoured this book, and then went back to read it again a few days later: it was that good. Constable is a master puppeteer, leading the reader by their emotions on a scavenger-hunt like quest as he seeks clues in the backstreets of Paris and New York with beautifully written prose, intriguing and imaginative hiding places, and a clever presentation of the juxtaposition between dark thoughts against humor and good intentions that are meant to lighten the moment.
What emerges is a complex and layered story of a friendship, and the subtle effect one’s personal interior dialogue and self-awareness will influence the need to know more. When Tomomi disappears yet again from Ben’s life, and all he is left with is a suicide note and a series of clues that may lead to the ‘why’, he immediately starts to unravel the story of her Why.
There is never a moment that doesn’t work in this book, as readers are led through twists and turns both metaphorical and actual, Ben becomes the tour guide and guidepost, The descriptions are lush, while I will admit to being lost in several side streets, I was able to enjoy the wander, not caring that I was lost.
This was a gripping and cleverly crafted story that demanded I read on to the end. If you are looking for something completely different, beautifully written and wholly entertaining – this is the read for you.
I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.