The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in quite some time. Laura Imai Messina is a masterful writer who took a topic that is often hidden from the public eye, (grief), and turned it into a captivating and lyrical tale about life and love enduring after a loss.

This book came into my life at such a perfect time – one year since the declaration of a global pandemic which has lead to so much loss of life and lifestyle throughout the world, and approaching the second anniversary of a very profound personal loss. Messina reminds us that grief, while an experience shared by many, is also deeply personal and we must give ourselves permission to grieve in our own way, in our own time even if that grief seems messy or protracted or confusing to others. What struck me was how respectful the characters in the book were of each other’s sense of loss and method of grieving. Often, at least in the Western world, there is an expectation that we must “overcome” our grief in a certain prescribed way, within a certain prescribed time for it to be considered “healthy”, so that we can “move on”.

The Phone Booth at the Edge of the World elegantly demonstrates that life and love can continue and happiness can be found along side grief – there is no mutual exclusivity. We can mourn, speak to and honour the individuals we have lost, while still embracing the life and relationship that come “after”. Yui, Takeshi and Hana unexpectedly find each other because of the Wind Phone and their bond unfolds beautifully throughout the novel. I think that the Wind Phone at Bell Gardia is such an incredible idea and I so appreciate Messina sharing it with us through her novel.

I highly recommend this novel, I think it has become one of my new favourites! Thank you to Net Galley and The Overlook Press for providing and eARC of this book for review!

– Hailey

 

 

 

Later, Yui realized she had learned another important thing in that place of confinement: that silencing a man was equivalent to erasing him forever. And so it was important to tell stories, to talk to people, to talk about people. To listen to people talking about other people. Even to speak with the dead, if it helped.

Laura Imai Messina

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