Title : Rainbirds
Author: Clarissa Goenawan
Language Edition: English
Page : 322
ISBN : 978-1-61695-965-4
Ren Ishida grew up in a half-broken family, fotunately he has an older sister who as long as he remembered was the one who took care of him. At least until she ran away from home. To Ren his sister was the closest family he ever had, even after she ran away from home his sister promise to call him regularly when they would talk of anything they could think of. As far as he knew his sister never cried一except for a certain time when a man broke her heart, after all she was in fault.
Keiko Ishida, Ren’s older sister, was also his substitute parents. She would be the one who came to school to collect his brother card report and cooking for him一more likely later she learned how to cook for them since convenience store lunch box was boring. On one of her birthday, his brother gave him an expensive kitchen knife, a special present that she took of with her on the day she ran away.
Years later, Keiko Ishida was dead just weeks after they talked in the phone. Murder in very cruel way. Ren has to left Tokyo to face his grief and regret alone. He went to Akakawa where Keiko had lived for the past years. There he realized the sister that he thought was the closest person to him in fact was too distant. He learned the hard way the meaning of ‘we only understand how precious a person when we lost them’, from that moment he would never accept any regular call nor listen to his sister voice, ever.
The lost was so sudden that he couldn’t properly feel the sadness. But slowly Akakawa pulled him in. Slowly Ren found himself following what his sister did before. He thought that way he could find out the mystery of Keiko’s dead. In that city also he met new people, they who were connected to Keiko, people who held the key to Keiko’s dead.
Rainbirds is a mystery novel written in vivid description, which is a writing style that I personally love. Reading the book I could imagine the setting where the characters are, and the feeling they have in every situation. I love Ren’s character, I love how he is so aware of his action, it is like he is flowing with the situation. But then sometimes it takes time for him to notice his own feeling, and to express them. I love Keiko for her careless, her obstinate and all her thoughtfulness as a sister.
I enjoy how the flashback inserted to the story, through them I could feel what kind of complicated but lovely relationship Ren and Keiko had. Their strong yet fragile sibling relationship. In the end from his own flashback Ren’s started to realize that he has made his sister as a standard in his own relationship with woman and how he regret that he never tell his sister about his feeling.
Not only flashback but also the distinct dreams that regularly appears when Ren asleep is one of my favorite part of this novel. Sometimes I didn’t realize that he was actually dreaming, not after he actually woke up.
“Sadness alone can’t harm anyone. It’s what you do when you’re sad that can hurt you and those around you.”
Keiko Ishida, p.99
One of my favourite words from the book, it’s true though.
I decided to read Rainbirds because a certain comment that said this novel is a mix of Haruki Murakami and Illana Tan novel. As a fan of Haruki Murakami works I could say that it has his vibe especially at how it is written. But what I love from this book that give a different feeling is the relationship and the feeling of the main character has in every situation they involved, they feel more real.
I rated this book full stars for it fulfills my expectation. The writing style, the characters development, the romance and the world setting. The story plot is slow but fulfilling, twisting each theory I have and the end is unpredictable. It is typical of Japanese novel or drama, and end without distinct settlement. Yet Ren’s short journey to the place where his sister had once lived is worth to follow, how the author Clarissa Goenawan tell the reader a story about a lovely relationship between the sibling and the road to find out a hurtful truth. I would recommend this book to those who love a mystery novel with romance seasoning.