I don't know exactly what I was expecting with this novel, but I was pleasantly surprised with what I found within this book. Lost Girls and Love Hotels by Catherine Hanraham was a great book for me and the pages just flew by. I had a great time reading it today. It rekindled my younger self's Japanophilia. Growing up, my mother taught English to Japanese exchange students and I was always fascinated by all things Japanese.
Lost Girls and Love Hotels gives us a glimpse into the life of Margaret, a young woman living in Japan, interspersed with vignettes of various times in her young adulthood back in Canada. Margaret is an English coach at a flight attendant school, and in her spare time she is a bit of a lush and so forth. At one point she meets a Japanese gangster type and they begin a relationship, meeting mostly in love hotels. I had never heard of these before, but the book's description of them is quite interesting. All the theme rooms that you could want, charged by the hour or for the night, or for rest or for stay.
I very much enjoyed the window into the life of a young Canadian woman living in Japan. How tempting it is for us all to think of just leaving it all behind to be anonymous in another part of the world. When asked, Margaret said that she came to Japan to be alone, her counterpart was surprised to hear that such a populated place would be somewhere that she felt alone.
The vignettes into the past are mainly her dealing with various traumatic events, and the descent of her brother into an unnamed mental illness. They were an appropriate length, so as not to take away from the main story, and yet were detailed enough to let us get to know the protagonist better.
It was a great diversion for the day, and the book rekindled my desire to visit Japan. And now that I am older, I have yet another place I want to visit when I go there. Now all I have to worry about is which room to choose (and about the cleaning procedures).
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