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The Forest of Wool and Steel

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,022 ratings  ·  202 reviews
What he experienced that day wasn’t life-changing . . . It was life-making.

Tomura is startled by the hypnotic sound of a piano being tuned in his school. It seeps into his soul and transports him to the forests, dark and gleaming, that surround his beloved mountain village. From that moment, he is determined to discover more.

Under the tutelage of three master piano-tuners
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published April 25th 2019 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2015)
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Amalia Gkavea
‘’Inhale the scent of a forest close by. I can smell the earthy fragrance of autumn as night falls, the leaves gently rustling, I can feel the damp air of dusk descending.’’

Our story begins in autumn. Tomura, a young man from Hokkaido, starts working as an apprentice to a piano tuner, a charming man named Mr. Yanagi. Tomura meets all kinds of clients, some sensitive, others abrupt and demanding, but no meeting influences him more than the acquaintance of Kazune, an enigmatic young woman, and
The Forest of Wool and Steel is a story of Tomura who at the age of 17 becomes mesmerised by the sound of a piano played by a piano tuner who just finished the tuning. Tomura suddenly realises that all he wants to do in life is to become a piano tuner. After finishing his piano tuning studies, Tomura starts working as an apprentice in a small city in Hokkaido. Tomura is observing his more experienced colleagues who have many years of experience and can tune pianos to their clients requests. Tomu ...more
May 29, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just didn’t choose a book that suited me, I was very intrigued by synapses, the idea of a story around a piano tuner. Too bad that the whole thing is really slow until the nervous breakdown; all this dreamlike ideas thrown there, can be held up to a certain point...
Okay, you get to the end of the book ( and I personally had to pray all the Saints in order to finish this book, i have this syndrome,... never being able to give up on shitty books, i have to finish all i read! Stupid me!!) and wha
Olivia (Stories For Coffee)
Nov 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Olivia by: Sumaiyya
This was such a beautifully written, slow moving novel following a new piano tuner navigating the world of music and his ability to heighten the sound of it all. I really enjoyed Tomura’s personality because he deals a lot with imposter syndrome and isn’t quite as confident in his work, which is relatable when one is surrounded by those who are so confident in their craft, leading to a lot of self-comparison issues.

This story greatly touched upon the power of music (and the piano) and how it aff
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
My thanks to NetGalley and RandomHouse UK for a review copy of the book. This is a Japanese novel translated into English by Philip Gabriel (who has also translated Murakami).

The Forest of Wool and Steel tells us the story of a young man Tomura. As a high school student, Tomura was deputed one day to conduct a piano tuner, Mr Itadori to the school gym to tune the piano. Hearing him work, more specifically the sounds that he manages to produce, evokes in his mind images of the forest at nightfall
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Whenever I had a spare moment I'd stand in front of the piano, heave open its mighty lid and peer inside. Eighty-eight keys, each with one to three strings attached. The steel strings were taut, and I felt a jolt of excitement each time I contemplated the line of hammers, ranged across the action like an exquisite row of magnolia buds, just waiting to be used. The forest, with everything in perfect balance, was utterly beautiful.”

The Forest of Wool and Steel is an award-winning novel by Japanes
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
The title of this book is a reference to the internal workings of a piano where wool, in the form of felt covering the hammers, and steel, in the form of piano strings, make the metaphorical forest but also make music.

When Tomura hears a piano being tuned in his school hall, this sets him on a path to becoming a piano tuner himself. It turns out piano tuning, at least in this book, is a lot more complicated than simply ensuring each string on the piano plays the right note. Tomura has to battle
The Forest of Wool and Steel is a melodious novel about a young man, Tomura, at the beginning of his career as a piano tuner. He's filled with self doubt and thinks he'll never measure up to other masterful piano-tuners.

This is a character-driven novel, where nothing much happens, Tomura's journey being more important than the destination. It felt a bit too slow at times, as it goes into quite a few details about pianos, tuning, ways of playing. I enjoyed learning a bit about this magnificent in
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Forest of Wool and Steel follows Tomura, a seemingly unassuming young man, on his journey to being a piano tuner and manages to be inspirational and empowering in the process. It has a simple fable-like quality to it which works so beautifully and led to a rich, rewarding reading experience. I always tend to find great works of Japanese writers serene and almost calming and this was definitely the case here. Sometimes the translation can skew the original meaning, but I feel it has been carr ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Such an appealing story. Knowing next to nothing about pianos and still less about tuning them, I was fascinated by all the detail involved in a piano tuner’s job. What clients mean when they want a ‘bright’ sound, for example, and how people’s perception of sound varies. I was particularly taken with the narrator’s likening of the nuances of tone and pitch to the sounds of the forest he grew up in - many opportunities for gorgeous descriptions here. Interesting, too, are his thoughts on the Anc ...more
Nabilah Firdaus
If I were to compare The Forest of Wool and Steel with something, it would be a literary equivalent of a soft piano melody, which was designed to be calming, reflective and meditating. In this quiet exploration of self, the author chronicles the life of Naoki Tomura whose life has changed through an enchanting sound of a piano being tuned in his school. Feeling motivated, Tomura decided to set about discovering more about piano tuning under the tutelage of three master piano tuners.

To be honest
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’m at a loss. I can’t come up with the exact words that describe precisely how I felt upon finishing this ethereal novel. Sublime. Angelic. Unearthly. Transcendental. All expressions of praise seem inadequate, and even if I try my best to put my perceptions into words, I am afraid my review will still be utterly incomplete.

Tomura, a fledgling piano tuner, struggles to pave his path to becoming a distinctive tuner with a unique flair of his own. He takes his first step down a long apprenticeshi
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Natsu Miyashita's 'The Forest of Wool and Steel' through my friend Nilmanie's review of it. The book was about the piano and its music and I couldn't wait to read it.

Tomura is in high school. One day one of his teachers tells him that a man will arrive in the afternoon at school, and asks Tomura to take this man to the gym. When this man arrives, Tomura takes him to the gym and leaves him there. While Tomura is leaving the gym, this man opens the piano there, presses down some of t
Kelly Furniss
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
The synopsis of this book pulled me in straightaway and as a fan of Japanese translated literature plus the accolades of this winning the 2016 Japan Booksellers Award and the translator been Phillip Gabriel who translates for one of my favourite authors Haruki Murakami I quickly got a copy.
Our main character Tomura is at school and witnesses the piano undergoing a tuning session.
Tomura is completely absorbed with the intricacies of the process and right there and then decides that this is what
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: got-in-2019
I'm not interested in Pianos, nor in tuning them, and for sure not in classical music. The only piano centered music I know is Yiruma.That being said I was absorbed into the apprenticeship of Tomaru and his struggle in becoming a good enough Piano tuner. I feel as if it is a typically japanese concept, to find so much pride in your work, even if it is a small task to do, you want to do the best work possible.Tomaru's Journey in finding peace with his calling was very touching. Feeling like you´r ...more
Elvina Zafril
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pansing
Such an appealing story. Translated by Philip Gabriel.

This book is split into five chapters. Everything about this book is just perfect. I was fascinated by all the detail involved in a piano tuner’s job.

Seven sounds - do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, or twelve if you include semitones - are teased out, named, and then they sparkle just like the constellations. And it’s the tuner’s job to pick these out with precision from the vast ocean of sound, arrange them delicately and make them resonate.
Hafizz Nasri
A very delightful and heartwarming plot, it felt like watching a wise life genre drama-- about one's career and responsibility, the temptation to do their best and be success. During his school days, Tomura met Mr Itadori, the piano tuner for his school's piano. He gets startled by the hypnotic sound of the piano that he decided to further learning into that field and be a good piano tuner. This a sort of Tomura's journey, his days of learning and experiencing difficulties to achieve his dream.

Alex (PaperbackPiano)
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Apart from the fact that this book had the most perfect subject matter EVER for me, I absolutely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys literary fiction. This was just the loveliest, gentlest little book. There is such a dreamlike quality to the writing that I really loved. Check out this example:-

“Pianos want to be played. They are always open – to people and to music, ready to shine a helpful guiding light towards worldly beauty.”

I just adore that! This book had some of the most gorgeously en
Shirley Bateman
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Charming and mystical with endearing characters. Not much happened and lots of references to piano tuning being a metaphor for life. A sweet, relaxing read.
Mar 09, 2020 rated it liked it
It is easy to understand why The Forest of Wool and Steel has been such a hit in Japan; it’s a beautiful and totally immersive work of fiction. The elaborate descriptions of the piano-tuning process have an almost ethereal quality. The meandering pace and the disconnection the reader feels from today’s fast-paced world for the search of perfection through sound and nature will strike a chord with many.
Especially for a natural music lover, it's not just music that they love, the instrument which
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a delightful surprise this book turned out to be!
biblio_mom (Aiza)
Translated by Philip Gabriel (A translator for Murakami)

Its appealing, wonderful and very metaphorical. Natsu Miyashita is like the Japanese version of Paulo Coelho, but it feels like something is off. Maybe because of the translations? I am not sure. But a friend told me, she have read the original version for a bit and they both felt the same. What pulls me in is the synopsis.

It follows a young man called Tomura, who fell in love at the sound of piano tuning in his school. He was raised in the
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
this was a soft, quiet but very unique book which had a very calming effect on me while reading it without being boring in any way - it felt really homely and cozy and magical in this miraculous way only few books manage

im glad i read this in-between all the exhausting information-packed books i've been reading lately
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, 2019, pragya
Book: The Forest of wool and steel by Natsu Miyashita
Genre: Japanese Literature
Pages: 224
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Forest of wool and steel is a beautiful book. It tells the story of a boy Tomura, who at the age of 17 finds his calling in life to become a piano tuner and traces his journey in fulfilling that purpose.
This book is written in a beautiful manner that it not only evokes feelings but also makes you resonate with it. The hardship that the protagonist suffers through in the book, is so relata
A short novel (and the third unexpected book - all excellent, though this was the best - I picked by chance in a British bookstore on my recent visit there) and it was just awesome; the first half is among the best ever reading experience as it is magical and enthralling (the story is simple, a boy from an iso9lated mountain village in Japan gets to watch a piano tuner at work by chance when he is deputized by the principal of his school to greet him and show him around to the school piano, and ...more
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Playing the piano is not how I'll make a living. It's how I'll make a life.

Imagine your whole life changed when you listened to the hauntingly beautiful music coming from an instrument that you know next to nothing about? Tomura didn't grow up in a family that could afford to send him to the piano class but it didn't change the fact that he was always been born to be a piano tuner.

I'm a fan of descriptive writings that could make all the words come alive in my head. Like, I could listen to the
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
* I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. *

The Forest of Wool and Steel is a metaphor for a piano, which creates music through wool felt hammers striking steel strings.

Tomaru is an aimless student from the mountain country, until he hears a piano tuner at work in his high school gym. The experience transports him and he instantly knows what he wants to do with his life. After getting some training, he gets a job as an apprentice. The book then r
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
A beautiful story about how to find "your calling", and more importantly, how to deal with the disappointment and anxiety that comes with being unable to find or fullfil it. Such a light but emotional read that tought me a few lessons (and a great deal about piano tuning). Love educational fiction!
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this quiet little Japanese novel for a while, but then it began to pall on me and seemed to be going nowhere – very slowly. It tells of a young man who is inspired to become a piano tuner and follows his quest for excellence in his chosen path and for self-fulfilment and meaning in his life. For me, there was just too much about the art of piano tuning, a subject in which I have minimal interest. It’s a character–driven novel but I couldn’t relate to the hero of the tale, and although ...more
Kaffeeklatsch and Books
This was a beautifully written ode to piano music and tuning.

We follow a young man called Tomura study how to become a tuner and work alongside his colleagues. I also learned a lot about the work itself, which is rather interesting.

This is a slow-paced and lyrical book.
If you like Japanese fiction, I can recommend this book.

Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy.
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Natsu Miyashita was born in Fukui Prefecture on Honshu island, Japan, in 1967. She has had a lifelong passion for reading and writing and has played the piano since she was very young. The Forest Of Wool And Steel won the influential Japan Booksellers’ Award, in which booksellers vote for the title they most enjoy to hand-sell. It has also been turned into a popular Japanese film directed by Kojir ...more

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  Tami Charles is a former teacher and the author of picture books, middle grade and young adult novels, and nonfiction. As a teacher, she made...
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“With both hands, he played an octave. The piano, part of the scenery until now, began to breathe. As each note was struck, the piano raised its heavy body and stretched its folded arms and legs, preparing to break into song, about to spread its wings. This was unlike any piano I’d ever seen. I pictured an enormous lion, slowly rising, eyes on its prey.” 0 likes
“When you heard Kazune play, it summoned up visible, tangible scenery. Light shining down among the trees, wet with morning dew. Drops of water sparkling on the tips of leaves, then dripping down. One morning, repeated over and over again. A vibrancy and solemnity born fresh and new.” 0 likes
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