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

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,091 ratings  ·  359 reviews
A quixotic and funny tale about first love – from the Akutagawa Prize-winning author.

Ms Ice Sandwich seems to lack social graces, but our young narrator is totally smitten with her. He is in awe of her aloofness, her skill at slipping sandwiches into bags, and, most electric of all, her ice-blue eyelids. Every day he is drawn to the supermarket just to watch her in action.
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 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,091 ratings  ·  359 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Ms Ice Sandwich
Amalia Gkavea
"If video games make you stupid, then what do mobile phones make you?"

A young boy buys egg sandwiches every day. The reason? The mysterious young woman behind the counter. Her black hair and beautiful eyes with eyelids the color of blue Popsicles make him fall in love with her. His visits to the store provide his sole wish in an otherwise mundane daily life where no one seems to understand him.

Kawakami creates a novella about what we like to describe as "the coming-of-age" of a boy but I don
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪SomeBunny Reads (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
Jim Fonseca
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a good story, a novella, that I’m tempted to call ‘cute.’ It’s a story of a young Japanese boy, grade school age, who essentially has a crush on a young woman who works in a deli selling sandwiches.

For the reminder of this review, I’ll say CONTAINS SPOILERS:

The boy is fascinated by the woman’s distinctive large eyes, but we learn later that he is puzzled by conversations he hears that she may have had plastic surgery or even facial reconstruction.


There is no father present and the boy g
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
Mar 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, 2020-read
I found this little novella strangely moving: Kawakami tells the story of a fourth grader who learns about loss. The little boy has a crush on the woman who sells sandwiches at his local store, and when a disturbing incident keeps him from visting her, his friend Tutti, who has lost her mother to an illness, teaches him an important lesson. At the same time, the unnamed boy is struggling with the fact that his ailing grandmother is getting worse.

Kawakami tells the story from the little boy's po
The Artisan Geek

What a great read! It's about a young boy, who becomes obsessed with a lady selling sandwiches in a supermarket, who he affectionately calls Ms Ice Sandwich. Kawakami so deftly shows the innocence and naivety of a young mind as they slowly have to deal with the uglier parts of life. Having said that, it's not a dark story - it leant more on the endearing side for me.

"There's loads of hard stuff in life, and maybe when we're grown-ups, there's going to be tons more hard stuff to deal with.
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!
Fiona MacDonald
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I am keen to read more foreign literature this year, and Japanese literature in particular is always a plus with me.
Mieko Kawakami is a new author to me, but I loved the sound of this adorable novella, and so picked it up when I saw it in my local library.
This charming story follows an unnamed 4th grader, who becomes obessed with a worker in a sandwich shop.
"Ms Ice Sandwich’s eyelids are always painted with a thick layer of a kind of electric blue, exactly the same colour as those hard ice lolli
Aug 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan, 2018
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.
A short story about a Japanese boy who has an infatuation with the sandwich lady at the local supermarket. Everyday during the summer he buys an egg sandwich from 'Ms Ice Sandwich' so he can look at her face. The pair never speak, but our narrator is obsessed with her giant eyes, lined with electric blue.

This is really just a slice of life story about growing up, and the awkwardness that comes with it. From dealing with an old and infirm Grandmother, to a tentative friendship with peer Tutti, th
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
Umut Rados
Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was a quick novella about a teenage boy having a crush on a girl working in a sandwich shop.
There’s also more to it like his relationship with his grandma, strange things going on at home and his best friend Tutti at school.
I did enjoy some parts. Innocence of the boy, the friendship with Tutti and the end was very heartfelt.
It didn’t have a big emotional impact on me as much as others and I’m not so keen on ‘slice of life’ narratives, so it was good to read, but it’s not a book that
Aug 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: japanese short stories
Shelves: japanese, asian
Ms Ice Sandwich is a short story with a coming of age theme. The unnamed mc is narrating his story, which is prompted by his adoration for the woman who works at the sandwich stall at the local market.

The second part of the book, with the weaving of the school life along with the mc's love life, as well as the conclusion of the story, was pretty much the best and masterfully handled and written.

However, the start was slow and kind of boring. It was difficult to keep the interest high, as the n
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell
$9.99 for a 90-page book???

*emoji that looks like Edvard Munch's The Scream*
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 m
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.
Nov 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
So sweet and pure of heart. Really needed to read something like this right now.
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 ey
Divine Anas
The reason why I'm so drawn to Japanese literature recently is because of the pervasive contemplative nature found in them. Ms. Ice Sandwich might not be for everybody's taste but reading it made me feel a little bit lighter. Mieko Kawakami's prose depended so much on her protagonist and I love how the MC's voice is so easy to delve into. Books like this makes me think that reading really is a form of therapy.
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 S
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,
2.5 rounded up

A sweet coming of age story following a boy who becomes obsessed with a surly woman who sells - you've guessed it - sandwiches in his local store. I most enjoyed the author's portrayal of his friendship with a girl from school, Tutti, a young girl who has lost her mother (the unnamed protagonist's grandma is poorly). Not sure it'll linger in my mind for long, but this was a pleasant enough way to spend an hour or so reading time.

Thank you Netgalley and Pushkin Press for the advance
I'm pretty sure that everyone in the class must know about my dad too, but not one person has ever asked me about him, so I've never talked about him to anyone. As I'm walking with Tutti I start to feel like talking about all that, I don't know why. There doesn't feel like there's all that much to say, and yet I still want to say something about it. But what does talking about it mean exactly, and what should I start by asking, and would the conversation go something like you don't have a mum
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.
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
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.
Shubhi Nigam
My very first from Japanese literature. Thoroughly enjoyed the read!
Tamara Agha-Jaffar
Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Louise Heal Kawai, is a quiet and touching novella in which very little happens. In the first-person point of view of a young boy in the 4th grade, it tells the story of his school-boy crush on a woman who sells sandwiches in the local supermarket. He orders a sandwich from her in order to study her face and expressive eyes. The woman is surly and non-communicative, which only adds to her mystique.

The boy is never named, but we know a little about
Nabilah Firdaus
”The worst thing is, you never know when somebody’s going to just disappear.”

A short and sweet novella that follows a young boy as he navigates feelings, friendships and farewells. The plot is extremely simple because it mostly explores the boy thoughts as he became fascinated with the woman who sell sandwich who he called Ms Ice Sandwich. As simple as this story was, I appreciated how the innocent voice pulled me to reminisce my own childhood that bore similar to the childlike nostalgia in this
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
TW Book Club: Winter Reading 2019-2020 1 26 Dec 15, 2019 06:16PM  
translation 2 11 Nov 27, 2017 05:56AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Record of a Night Too Brief
  • Slow Boat
  • Earthlings
  • The Bear and the Paving Stone
  • The End of the Moment We Had
  • Spring Garden
  • Strange Weather in Tokyo
  • The Nakano Thrift Shop
  • Parade
  • Tokyo Ueno Station
  • Sweet Bean Paste
  • The Lonesome Bodybuilder
  • The Factory
  • 82년생 김지영
  • People From My Neighbourhood
  • Convenience Store Woman
  • Ten Nights Dreaming and The Cat's Grave
  • The Ten Loves of Mr. Nishino
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.

Related Articles

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
24 likes · 20 comments