Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ms Ice Sandwich” as Want to Read:
Ms Ice Sandwich
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ms Ice Sandwich

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  1,063 ratings  ·  189 reviews
A boy is obsessed with a woman who sells sandwiches. He goes to the supermarket almost every day, just so he can look at her face. She is beautiful to him, and he calls her "Ms Ice Sandwich", and endlessly draws her portrait.

But the boy's friend hears about this hesitant adoration, and suddenly everything changes. His visits to Ms Ice Sandwich stop, and with them the last
Paperback, 92 pages
Published November 30th 2017 by Pushkin Press (first published November 2013)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ms Ice Sandwich, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ms Ice Sandwich

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,063 ratings  ·  189 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ms Ice Sandwich
☽¸¸.I am¸¸.•*¨ The ¸¸.•*¨*Phoenix¨*•♫♪ ☾
I picked up this novella because I am trying to read more Japanese literature. I found out I apparently like it very much, since I seem to enjoy every book I choose. This one is a short, interesting story about a little boy who has a crush on a supermarket employee, and visits the store every day to see her. Of course, he's young and shy and never finds the courage to talk to her.

The story is narrated from the perspective of the boy, and one of my favourite things about this book is the ability
2018 is the year I've fallen in love with novella's: I’ve read many great ones this year and Ms Ice Sandwich is maybe the best one so far. Only look at its funky cover: that already promises something good.

But the story itself is more gentle than funky. In it we learn about the innocent life of an 8-year old Japanese boy. He goes to school, spend time with his sick grandma, but mostly he tells us about Ms Ice Sandwich, the cool sandwich lady with her ice-blue eyelids (eyeshadow?)
However, when
Katie Lumsden
Jan 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this - so impactful for such a short book! It really lovingly and warmly looks at grief, growing up and friendship. I would highly recommend!
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, 2018, fiction
I googled 'Japanese novellas' and it came up with these new Pushkin press Japanese novellas. I picked this one first 'cause this one was shortest of all. I'm not the sort of person to use words like cute, sweet and all that, but this was that. The writing in this book is really childish, but again the narrator is fourth grader, so it just works fine. Blurb promises lost innocence and loss, but it's not that deep. It's simply, you know, well, cute I guess. And sweet.
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ms Ice Sandwich is a quirky and immediately engaging novella, about a young boy's obsession with a woman who sells sandwiches from a counter in his local supermarket. As a character study, it is very interesting indeed from both sides. I enjoyed the almost stream-of-consciousness way in which the book was written, and overall, found it rather a thought-provoking story. The real strength here is the way in which Kawakami presents naivety and growing up.
Tink Magoo is bad at reviews
1.5 stars

I enjoyed the bumbling narrative but I'm either too thick to 'get' this or it just didn't translate into the humorous love story it was supposed to, for me at least.
The second book from Pushkin Press's Japanese Novellas series which I am going to review today is Ms Ice Sandwich by Kawakami Mieko (yes, she shares the same last name as Kawakami Hiromi whose Record of a Night Too Brief I reviewed last week, but the two authors have no relation whatsoever as far as I am concerned).

I had never read anything by Kawakami Mieko before, but I have to admit that this novella caught my interest from the outset. It might have been very brief and left me yearning for
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japanese-fiction
Incredible. EXPERTLY translated (and I know I'm very particular, I can't help it - see my review of Dandelions たんぽぽ). I devoured this sandwich hungrily and it was delicious, thank you very much. Ms Ice Sandwich was exactly what I needed when I needed it. I've never laughed so hard and felt such loss in the span of, what, two pages? toward the end.

What an interesting book.

It's not every generation that we have a translator who can climb inside the psyche of the writer and expose the writer's
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Gently endearing story about a young boy and his adoration for a lady who sells sandwiches. I almost gave this story a miss, expecting it to be about a teen boy's sexual awakening. But I was delighted to discover it is a tale far more innocent.

The unnamed protagonist is a 4th grader who finds excuses almost every day to visit the local supermarket to see 'Ms Ice Sandwich'. He never speaks to her beyond asking for a sandwich, so he gave her the name based on her job and the brilliant ice-blue
Feb 10, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

A boy falls in love with a supermarket employee who sells sandwiches. He is mesmerized by her eyes especially when she closes them to reveal something else. Meanwhile, his grandmother is doing poorly and he doesn't know if his mother is a good person or not. He doesn't seem to have a relationship with his mother because she tends to be too busy with her own life to care about what is happening with her son. There's also a girl he is befriends who learns about his admiration of Ms. Ice
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, fiction
(3.5*) There is something uncanny about contemporary Japanese lit I can’t quite grasp yet, but definitely enjoy—minimalist plot lines where the bizarre meets strange familiarity.
And no, I’m not talking Murakami, but all these women writers whose names I keep forgetting.
A rather strange book about a young boy who becomes infatuated (obsessed?) with the woman who sells sandwiches at the local store. There's this undertone of sadness and longing throughout.

I hadn't heard of this book or its author before. But the title and the fun cover caught my eye while I was browsing my library's Libby catalogue.

It's a coming of age novella, a story about growing up and feeling different and learning to cope with all these strange new emotions and feelings.

Kind of moving,
Oct 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m continuing my streak of reading Japanese books this year. I couldn’t resist this cover, and it’s a short little book. I thought I could finish it last weekend, but life and work got in the way so I just finished it this morning.

The narrator is an unnamed Japanese boy who is obsessed with the woman who sells him sandwiches every day. The boy lives with his mother and his father’s mother, but his father passed away when he was four. He struggles with school, friendship, connection. Everyday he
Shubhi Nigam
My very first from Japanese literature. Thoroughly enjoyed the read!
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook
A story of first love, family and friendship from the eye of a little boy. The narrator was so naive and sincere, very trustworthy and polite. A lovely son and grandson, a good friend and an avid 'stalker' to a sandwich seller at a grocery store. A journey of obsession and admiration, a sweet love crush. I like how the author expressed the boy's character and personality. His eagerness and worries over Ms Ice Sandwich-- all those babbling and thoughts. He seems to care about Ms Ice Sandwich more ...more
Sudeepta Pradhan (booksteaandmore)
Jan 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
Ms. Ice sandwich by Mieko Kawakami is a Japanese novella translated by Louise Heal Kawai. It follows the story of an unnamed 4th grader who lives with his mother and grandmother. The story is narrated from the first person perspective of this 8-year-old boy. As he visits the grocery store he often sees this woman who sells sandwich but is reticent and aloof and does not interact with any customers. She makes sandwich and packs it with mechanical precision. She has ice blue eyelids and our ...more
Aug 25, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the first book I've read of Mieko Kawakami although I was recommended to read "Breasts and Eggs" that I couldn't find in the library. As someone who's not reading a lot of 21st century literature, I have to admit that I've started reading this book with a bit of skepticism as it's written from the perspective of a fourth-grader and the repetitive adjective "awesome" somewhat irritated me but gradually it turned to be a "nice", "cute" novella, nothing deep or heartbreaking but it evoked ...more
Anupama C K(b0rn_2_read)
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019, japan
I think this book should be marketed as YA, not adult book. From the theme, the characters to the plot, the conversations,... they are all very simple. It was narrated by a fourth grader after all. I was very disappointed with it. Until I found out recently this is a part of a full length novel titled Longing, it makes more sense to me. But then I was perplexed why they did it.
Pop Bop
Oct 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Packs A Lot Into A Small Package

This mid-length novella has a lot of moving parts, but they all fit together exceptionally well.

Our narrator is a young boy. He is precise, observant, and thoughtful. He is clearly a talented artist, although this is not featured. He's also a touch compulsive, but this tends to be downplayed as well. He is often awkward and tongue tied, but while this plays out in his social interactions it does not interrupt his insightful and rather charming interior monologue,
Sachi Argabright
Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
MS ICE SANDWICH by Mieko Kawakami is a story told from the perspective of a young boy who is enamored with a sandwich shop lady. “Ms Ice Sandwich” as he likes to call her, is fascinating to him but he doesn’t have the courage to say anything besides his sandwich order to her. Told over the course of several months, this novella explores what it means to grow up.

I enjoyed this little novella! Our protagonist is cute and interesting, and his perspective is very different than what I’m used to
Holly Thompson
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful middle-grade novel of a boy infatuated with a sandwich seller--this tender, poignant portrayal of quirky family life, school friendships, shifting feelings, grief and loss is told in a sweet and unforgettable voice. Beautifully translated by Louise Heal Kawai.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Funny, warm, and moving! What a great voice (thanks in part to translator Louise Heal Kawai).
Stevie Dunbar
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mar 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Review can also be found at Snow White Hates Apples.

When I read Ms Ice Sandwich , I didn’t expect much beyond what the blurb states that it’ll be “[t]ender, warm, yet unsentimental […] a story about new starts, parents who have departed, and the importance of saying goodbye”. After all, this is a story about a boy who’s smitten with a woman he calls ‘Ms Ice Sandwich’ because a) she sells sandwiches and b) her eye shadow reminds him of the blue ice lollies largely consumed during summer in Japan
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
ms. ice sandwich was brought to my attention from a booktube video i saw, and i immediately ordered it from thriftbooks.

it's super slim, and can be read extremely quickly, but i took my time with it, spending at least a few hours, savoring it and trying to get all the meaning out of it that i could.

basically, it's about a young boy who lives with his aloof mother and dying grandmother. he goes to the supermarket everyday to buy sandwiches from a woman with blue eyeshadow and wide eyes who he
Chandan Sinha
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I remember reading 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' at the end of the last year (around this time itself) and the tone of 'Ms. Ice Sandwich' felt almost felt like that albeit at a milder level. The protagonist's way of thought, action, and introspection of surroundings and events grazes the intersection of maturity and childish innocence - something that doesn't just make it a children's book.

I must point out the remarkable ability of the author to write this smoothly from a
Paul Ataua
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
‘Ms Ice Sandwich’ came and went. Coming in at less than a hundred pages, it is a gentle story narrated by a preteen boy covering his infatuation with the big eyed Ice Cream Sandwich lady, and his friendship with his movie loving classmate, Tutti. Needless to say, nothing much happens, but it is a sweet ‘coming of age’ story if that description is applicable to a nine year old.
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Short but very sweet read with a drop of melancholy. Exactly what I want from Japanese literature. Bought and read on my trip in Japan, so extra enjoyment from that!
Nose in a book (Kate)
May 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story is narrated by a young man who, over his summer holiday, becomes slightly obsessed by the sandwich server at his local supermarket. She is aloof, never smiling, never engaging with customers, precise in all her movements. When he starts back at school, he hears rumours about his beloved “Ms Ice Sandwich” and they upset him.

This is a universal story. It’s a sweet tale of adolescence, discovery and loss.

Read my full review:
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
TW Book Club: Winter Reading 2019-2020 1 19 Dec 15, 2019 06:16PM  
translation 2 8 Nov 27, 2017 05:56AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • 熊の敷石 [Kuma no shikiishi]
  • Record of a Night Too Brief
  • 春の庭 [Haru no niwa]
  • Slow Boat
  • Die Zeit, die uns bleibt: Erzählungen
  • コンビニ人間 [Konbini ningen]
  • The Lonesome Bodybuilder
  • Sortie parc, gare d'Ueno
  • The Briefcase
  • Cele zece iubiri ale lui Nishino
  • Parade
  • Appel du pied
  • Herr Nakano und die Frauen
  • The Book of Tokyo: A City in Short Fiction
  • Territory of Light
  • Les délices de Tokyo
  • Khi Tách Cà Phê Còn Chưa Nguội
See similar books…
Mieko Kawakami (川上 未映子, born in August 29, 1976) is a Japanese singer and writer from Osaka.

She was awarded the 138th Akutagawa Prize for promising new writers of serious fiction (2007) for her novel Chichi to Ran (乳と卵) (Breasts and Eggs).

Kawakami has released three albums and three singles as a singer.