„Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa“ by Ben Constable
The following review is a little emotional, a rant, because that seems to be what the book does to the reader. I waited a week, but I still can’t write about it clearly, so I’m just going to write what comes into my head. Just know that I recommend this book, it’s one of those you won’t forget, even if you don’t enjoy it.
Ben Constable the main character says to his friend Tomomi Ishikawa. And so he did, or did Tomomi write it for him?
Well, let’s back this up a bit. This book is confusing enough as it is, but in a really good way. The main character is Ben Constable, and he is also the author of the book. So far, so good.
I bought this book because of the adventure it promised in the blurb, stories that weave through Paris and New York are stories that I have to read; it is as simple as that. But I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I think I didn’t even realize that the main character had the same name as the author, even though I read the preview chapter online. The weird thing is, even after finishing the book, and now a week after, I’m still not sure what I read. Don’t get me wrong, the story is easy to follow: we are going on a scavenger hunt through Paris and New York with Ben Constable.
And as you can see from the pictures, I really enjoyed the tour. Every yellow post it stands for a place that Ben Constable (and Tomomi) described so beautifully, that I just have to visit it someday. They go to places in Paris and New York you have probably never heard of, but can’t get out of your head once you read about them.
The same goes for the whole book: every chapter, every anecdote, every letter from Tomomi, every twist and every turn stays with you. It took me a week to finish the book, because some chapters are very heavy, dark and bizarre and I couldn’t just breeze past them. And every time I put the book down, the story was bumping around in my head all day. And it still is, because many questions are left unanswered. Tomomi remains a mystery; even though we learn so much about her, yet in the end we know so little.
What I love about the book is, that every sentence, every word the characters say, keeps you on the edge of your seat. You start questioning things, why they just said that, if words are of significance, because most of the time they are, pages later when you have already forgotten about them.
I love the details, the cat, the clocks set to 3:20, the carefully chosen clues. That characters talk with parenthesis, which in the beginning I thought I’d hate but ended up enjoying. Also the mind game, because in the end it’s just that. For Tomomi, for Ben Constable, and mostly for the reader.
“The three lives of Tomomi Ishikawa” has become one of my favourite books of all time, even though I’m not sure what it is. But it’s a book I will recommend to everyone, just so they read it and we can talk about how weirdly brilliant it is.