The Phone Box At The Edge Of The World by Laura Imai Messina is a stunningly beautiful book about grief and love and life. Whilst it is a novel, it has its roots in reality as it is based on the actual phone box at Bell Gardia in Japan.
There is nothing magical about the phone box but it does have healing properties for those who go there. Those who are grief stricken, pick up the phone, talk into it, and the wind carries their messages of hope.
In Bell Gardia faith and hope are alive. People believe there must be more to life than what we can see, feel and hear. In Bell Gardia guilt and fears are put aside as love and hope arise. “When we go up that hill to Suzuki san’s garden, we’re trying to get our shadows back.” People are trying to grab hold of their pasts and bring back hope to their shattered lives.
Many people make the journey to Bell Gardia – those who have lost parents, children, loved ones. “We’re still parents even when our children are no longer here.” As they release their voices to the wind, they are believing they will be heard.
The whole book is about love. “Time may pass, but the memory of the people we’ve loved doesn’t grow old.” Love comes in many forms. When we lose our loved ones, we feel lost too. Over time we will be ‘found’ as we learn to live again in spite of our grief.
The characters were wonderfully and realistically drawn. The reader is instantly attracted to the gentle natures of the lead characters. I found them easy to picture in my head.
There is an ethereal beauty to the story. I am sad that it has ended but I feel surrounded by love after having journeyed from the valley of despair to the mountaintop of hope.
I received a free copy via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.