Lonely Castle In The Mirror
A Studio Ghibli-esque work of Japanese translation “that lays bare the anxieties and desperation—and the small triumphs—of adolescence” (Locus), for fans of Mieko Kawakami’s Heaven.
Seven students find unusual common ground in this warm, puzzle-like Japanese bestseller laced with gentle fantasy and compassionate insight.
Bullied to the point of dropping out of school, Kokoro’s days blur together as she hides in her bedroom, unable to face her family or friends. As she spirals into despair, her mirror begins to shine; with a touch, Kokoro is pulled from her lonely life into a resplendent, bizarre fairytale castle guarded by a strange girl in a wolf mask. Six other students have been brought to the castle, and soon this marvelous refuge becomes their playground.
The castle has a hidden room that can grant a single wish, but there are rules to be followed, and breaking them will have dire consequences. As Kokoro and her new acquaintances spend more time in their new sanctuary, they begin to unlock the castle’s secrets and, tentatively, each other’s.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a mesmerizing, heart-warming novel about the unexpected rewards of embracing human connection.
Praise for Lonely Castle In The Mirror
★ “This sweet, kindhearted, and deeply sympathetic magical realist novel about middle school dropouts pulling each other back from the brink will resonate with readers of all ages.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“[A] moving psychological journey . . . blazingly honest . . . Tsujimura is a master at projecting these young anxieties onto the page, offering hints and shadows and silhouettes of what the world might be like once we finally grow up, and how difficult it is to take that first step.” —Tor.com
“A gorgeous, wrenching fantasy that lays bare the anxieties and desperation – as well as small triumphs – of adolescence.” —Locus
“A moving, reflective and surprising novel . . . Anyone who has ever struggled with feeling isolated, had difficulties at school, or had mental health struggles, will find this novel to be a cleansing balm.” —Culturefly
“[A] respectful, moving novel about teenage bullying in the Tokyo suburbs . . . Tsujimura shows how easily misunderstandings and miscommunications can escalate, and treats everyone—even the bullies—with nuance.” —The Japan Times
“An innovative and tender blend of social commentary and magical realism.” —The Japan Society Review
“Genuinely affecting . . . a story about collaboration, empathy and sharing truths, a modern, all-ages fairy tale that should appeal to fans of Neil Gaiman and Studio Ghibli animations.” —The Financial Times