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The Phone Box at the Edge of the World

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,905 ratings  ·  410 reviews
We all have something to tell those we have lost . . .

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the tsunami, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue.

Then one day she hears about a man who has an old disused telephone box in his garden. There, those who have lost loved ones find the strength to speak to t
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published June 25th 2020 by Manilla Press
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautifully written story that flows through ravaged loss, desolation, resilience, hope, and the promise of a future with love and peace. The Phone Box at the End of the World by Laura Imai Messina is a book that gently enriches the soul and beats with a loving serenity.

The harrowing aftermath of a natural disaster strips away normality with the sudden and unprepared death of loved ones and the destruction of property. Yui is heartbroken following a Tsunami which hit Japan on 11 Marc
Louise Wilson
Jun 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Yui and Takeshi have lost loved ones. Yui lost a daughter, Takeshi has lost his wife. They meet on their journey tomthenphone box and a bond is firmly made between them. Theynare travelling to the wind phone, al,old disconnected phone box that's in a garden of a stranger. It's said that it Carrie's your voice to the people you have lost.

I loved the thought of a phone box we could all go to and phone our loved ones that have passed away. It's a heartbreaking read but it's also full of hope. I lov

In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami that followed a 9.0 earthquake, 20,000 lives were lost, and an untold number of families were devastated by the loss, a loss that continues to haunt these families. Yui, a young woman, is one who lost loved ones, family. Her daughter and her mother, both. Her sorrow is palpable, but is shared by the many people who call in to share their stories at the radio station where she works.

A listener calls in when she poses a question to her audience, asking what ma
Sheree | Keeping Up With The Penguins
The Phone Box At The Edge Of The World has a beautiful premise, but for me the prose fell a little short. I guess I was expecting something like a blend of Sayaka Murata and Elena Ferrante, but the tone is closer to Cecilia Ahern or Marian Keyes. It’s a fine story of losing and finding family, but unfortunately it doesn’t quite live up to the heart-wrenching stories of the real-life Wind Phone.

An extended review is available at Keeping Up With The Penguins.
Natalie M
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A stunning read that was incredibly powerful as an audiobook.

Based on a true story the phone box at the edge of the world is in the small town of Otsuchi in northern Japan, an area devasted by the tsunami in 2011.

A resident had the idea of placing an old phone booth at the bottom of his garden with a disconnected rotary phone that he could use to ring his deceased cousin (prior to the March 2011 disaster) and his words would "be carried on the wind" as he spoke to him.

Word travels about the wind
Abbie | ab_reads
Thank you @manilla_press for sending me a free copy of The Phone Box at the Edge of the World to review! This was such a lovely change of pace for me. I rarely read books that are filled with such hope. Although the book tackles grief and loss, Laura Imai Messina infuses it with a profound sense of hope and love.
Based on a real place in Japan, The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is centred around a phone box in a rural Japanese village, where people go to talk to their loved ones who have pa
May 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is a hard one for me to rate/review so I think it’ll be brief.

I loved the connection between the two main characters and how they slotted into each other’s lives. I loved how beautifully written the words are. I loved the short chapters making it an easy read. I loved the ‘profound quotes’ that make up the paragraphs of this book.

But for me this book was missing a lot - I don’t know if maybe I just didn’t connect with it but there didn’t really seem to be any real plot. A lot of the chapte
Beth Pennington
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
BQ✒️ - "Grief, Yui had once told him, is something you ingest everyday, like a sandwich cut into small pieces, gently chewed and then calmly swallowed. Digestion was slow. And so, Takeshi thought, joy must work in the same way"

Thank you @manilla_press for the #gifted copy of this beautiful book. I read this with @emmas.biblio.treasures and it was such a beautiful story

I was worried, given the Tsunami backdrop and the central focus on grief, that this would be sad, emotional and bleak. Yes it wa
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
You might think a book about grief is gonna be sad. It's not a subject that I am familiar to in my personal life, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

But it was an absolute surprise; I enjoyed this book a lot. It is beautifully written, I truly couldn't put it down. The characters are all unique in their own way and the Japanese atmosphere is very present, something I loved the most about it.

Grief is sad for sure, but the story displays it in such a beautiful way and in so many forms. Death is trag
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Booklist review to come. This is such a beautiful book. I loved it.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
A beautiful, touching story that ultimately leaves you feeling hopeful.

The subtly of the story, the writing style & there were stand out quotes really resonated with me. I really enjoyed the taste of Japanese culture and language captured within these pages

I loved the main characters and how they fit into each other's lives. The short chapters alternating between the character's lives and little lists/details perfectly entwined the story together.

It just missed out on 5⭐ because I would've reall
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
The Phone Box At The Edge Of The World is the 2020 release from Italian author Laura Imai Messina. With four Italian books under her belt, Messina is an established author that I have come across for the first time. The Phone Box At The Edge Of The World immediately got my attention with its fascinating premise of a phone box that allows people to speak to the dead. Messina’s idea grew from the true story of a man, Sasaki Haru, and his wife, who lived at the base of Mountain of the Whale, next t ...more
Karen Brooks
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This exquisite book, set after the shocking Tsunami that struck Japan in 2011 and took so many lives, wreaking havoc upon the people and land, tells the story of how some survivors handled their overwhelming grief in the aftermath. While the book focuses mainly on Yui (whose mother and daughter were swept away) and Takeshi, a doctor whose wife died of cancer and whose young daughter has fallen into silence ever since, we’re introduced to a host of other characters who find solace, not just in ea ...more
Jul 04, 2020 rated it liked it
The Phone Box at The Edge of The World follows the life story of Yui and Takeshi set in Japan. Both have lost love ones and have heard about The Phone of the Wind where it is said you can speak to lost loved ones through a disconnected telephone, they happen to meet on their separate journeys to Bell Gardia where the phonebox stands.

I thought this would be a heart-wrenching book where I would find myself sobbing the whole way through, but I found myself positively surprised at the wisdom and hea
Angela Moore Garden Tea Cakes and Me
The first half of this book deals with the after effects of the tsunami, with Yui living in a school gymnasium for the following months. It broke my heart, my sister can attest to my sobbing and rather loudly too. There are few books that have had this effect on me. I think this was because I knew the story was based on real events. I knew people in Japan at the time, I've been to Japan. As the author describes everyday life, Japanese peoples habits and mannerisms, I could envisage all these thi ...more
Hannah Coe
Feb 19, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-shelves-read
This book is unlike anything I’ve read before. It hooked me in from the first few pages and you really got the sense that it was an almost true story. It is based on a true story and Bell Gardia does exist but it feels like a fiction book with real characters if that makes sense... It’s not drawn out like autobiography’s and some true stories but instead flows really naturally.

There’s something about books set in Japan that I find really calming, I’m not quite sure what it is but I always end up
Karen Mace
Dec 31, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
This is a touching book that centres on grief and the art of moving on - even when you think that isn't possible - and really connects you to the characters involved as it's something we all have to go through so you can easily relate.

What would we all give to be able to talk to our lost loved ones? That is what the phone box in Japan, overlooking the sea,allows those who visit it the opportunity to do. After the devastating tsunami takes away her mother and daughter, Yui is left floundering in
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley

I received an ARC from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I absolutely LOVED this book. A strong 5 star read. It was equal parts calming, sad, sweet, tragic, grief-stricken, and hopeful.
This book centers around an empty phone booth in a garden where people can come to “talk” to their loved ones they’ve lost. Yui talks to her mother and child who perished in the March 2011 Tsunami. Takeshi talks to his late wife, while worrying about his daughter who stopped speaking since her mother p
Anne Zouroudi
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I adored this - it's sensitive, quirky and ultimately uplifting, and while the theme is grief and loss, it's dignified rather than harrowing. Ultimately it's a book about healing and moving on after trauma, but it's gentle and thoughtful. Would make a wonderful gift for anyone who needs their faith in humanity restored. ...more
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Set after the 2011 tsunami in Japan, this book focuses on ways of dealing with grief. I enjoyed the notion of the phone box, and I love that it really exists and that the book is based on a true story.

For me though, I wanted more. I wasn’t gripped at all. I wanted to just get to the end. Not a whole lot happened. But it was thought-provoking to a degree, considering it was based on such tragedy.

2.5 ⭐️ out of 5 ⭐️
Lydia Hephzibah
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
A strange, gentle, spiritual book that I don't know quite how to surmise ...more
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was so beautiful and heartbreaking and something that I had no idea would hit me so hard. An incredible subject, exploration of grief, and so much more. Full review to come!
Emma (escapetothebookshelf)
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book and I'm terrified that my review is not going to do it justice so just go and read it even if you don't like my review! The story follows Yui who lost her mother and daughter in the 2011 tsunami. She learns about a phone box at Bell Gardia where people go to speak to loved ones they have lost and she decides to take the journey there herself. She meets Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose daughter has stopped talking since the death of her mother and over time they lear ...more
Shaz Goodwin
Jun 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing

I have felt privileged to be a part of Yui’s path as she moves from grief and darkness into love and light. From guarding emotions as protection not to feel any more pain to some really tender moments, through Yui I’ve experienced an array of emotions. Do you experience the mixed emotions of a life moving on or do you let the fear of loss wrap around you and stifle your feelings and actions? Can you have joy filled moments again?

Takeshi and Yui’s meeting a
Oct 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2o2o
I'm struggling to form thoughts to comprehend my feelings towards this book, but I'll try my best to write them down.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World was a sweet and spiritual read, of loss, of love, of connectedness and of survival. It's characters falling together was sweet and (almost) seamless. I enjoyed the different lives merging together over a shared feeling of grief, and the place that helps them heal.

But despite this, I felt a slight disconnect from the characters, they never fel
Jane Long
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
Although this book had good reviews, I'm afraid it didn't do that much for me. I'm not saying it isn't a heart felt book, because it is, but, I think I was expecting more. I like the fact there is a phone box where you can talk to people that have passed, but that's about it. ...more
Alison Hawkins
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book after reading the synopsis and other reviews however I just couldn't get into it. The story just didn't seem to grab me like I thought it would. ...more
Caroline Middleton
Dec 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Set after the 2011 tsunami that devastated Japan, Yui discovers the Wind Phone, a disconnected phone box in northern Japan where people go to speak to dead loved ones. Having lost her mother and daughter in the tragedy, the story follows Yui on her ritual trips to the Wind Phone, as we wait for her to finally use it.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a meditation on grief, Messina's sparse and poetic writing style always generous when we encounter other visitors at Bell Gardia (where the
Laura Grace
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very moving read. For the first part, I felt I was consistently rereading lines and quotes because Yui's story is just so hard hitting. The blurb is 100% accurate that this story is equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming. When you hear/read some of the stories of the people that come to the Wind Phone, it was crushing. I am unsure how accurate some of the stories were or if they were fictional, but one man's story was extremely hard to read. His words on parenting hit close to home ...more
Em (bibliophile_daydream)
Jul 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-arcs
Thank you for Netgalley for gifting me a digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World is a poignant story exploring grief, emotional trauma, and how to pick your life up after it has fallen to pieces. We follow Yui and Takeshi, two people who both lost a lot. Yui's mother and daughter both died in the 2011 tsunami, while Takeshi's wife was taken by cancer. Their pain brings them to the same special place - to a phone box with a disconnected line, where yo
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Laura Imai Messina è nata a Roma e si è laureata in Lettere all’Università la Sapienza.

Si è trasferita a Tokyo a ventitré anni per perfezionare la lingua e da allora abita stabilmente in Giappone. Ha ottenuto un dottorato di primo livello in Culture Comparate presso l’International Christian University con una tesi sulla scrittrice giapponese Ogawa Yōko e ha conseguito presso la Tokyo University o

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