The Phone Box at the
Edge of the World  

Laura Imai Messina

Translated by Lucy Rand

Manilla Press, June 2020

When Yui loses her mother and daughter in the North-East Japan tsunami in 2011, she wonders how she will ever carry on. Yet, in the face of this unthinkable loss, life must somehow continue. 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 them and begin to come to terms with their grief. As news of the phone box spreads, people will travel to it from miles around. Soon Yui will make her own pilgrimage to the phone box, too. But once there she cannot bring herself to speak into the receiver. Then she finds Takeshi, a bereaved husband whose own daughter has stopped talking in the wake of their loss.

"This beautiful novel tells a story of universal loss and the power of love. It will remain engraved in my heart and mind forever. During these difficult times we face, it addresses questions that we might all have - how to connect with those we have loved and lost and how to allow ourselves to live and to love again. Beautifully written, sensitive and evocative, it paints a picture of an inner and outer world that is infused with both tragedy and hope. It moved me to tears and made me want to speak my own secret thoughts in the phone box at the edge of the world. Absolutely breathtaking and stunning."  Christy Lefteri, author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo

"Its meditative minimalism makes it a striking haiku of the human heart: short, slow and deceptively full." Melissa Katsoulis, The Times

"What unfolds is a whimsical, moving and uplifting anatomisation of grief and the small miraculous moments that persuade people to start looking forward again.' Patricia Nicol, The Sunday Times

"Sensitively translated, this is a poignant, atmospheric novel dealing with love, coming to terms with loss and the restoration of one’s self." Fanny Blake, The Daily Mail 

"If English readers can now enjoy such an inspired encounter of sensibilities and cultures, it is thanks to Lucy Rand’s translation. Among the borders that narrative crosses, her translation beautifully dissolve the linguistic one, letting the story enter the flow of universal accounts of grief and love, life and death." Claudia Dellacasa, Reading in Translation

"A message of hope for anyone who is lost, frightened or grieving. The Phone Box is beautiful. [...] A quick shout-out to @lucyra, whose translation is completely invisible (I suspect this might be a clumsy compliment, but I've read many translations you can TELL are translations) and as beautiful as the book." Clare Mackintosh, author of After the End 

"The Phone Box at the Edge of the World’ has been translated from Italian by Lucy Rand, and usually I'm apprehensive of translated works, sometimes they just don't capture the magic of the story the same way the original work would, but I was pleasantly surprised. The book made me feel a plethora of emotions: heartbreak, joy, hopefulness, just to name a few. The writing is truly beautiful and it just adds to the already distinctive story." Silvxr blog

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©2020 by Lucy Rand