Book Review: Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa

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Title: Sweet Bean Paste

Author: Durian Sukegawa

Format: Paperback

Publication Date: February 6, 2013

Number of Pages: 213

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Genre: Contemporary, Japanese Literature

Synopsis:

Sentaro has failed. He has a criminal record, drinks too much, and his dream of becoming a writer is just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste.

But everything is about to change.

Into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. Tokue makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted. She begins to teach him her craft, but as their friendship flourishes, social pressures become impossible to escape and Tokue’s dark secret is revealed, with devastating consequences.

Sweet Bean Paste is a moving novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship. Translated into English for the first time, Durian Sukegawa’s beautiful prose is capturing hearts all over the world.

Personal Thoughts:

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In this book we follow Sentaro who works at a confectioner shop called Doraharu which basically sells dorayaki, a Japanese pancake filled with sweet bean paste. For the longest time, all Sentaro wants is to pay his debts and leave the shop. One day, he meets Tokue, an older lady who’s in her mid-70s and from there, they develop an unexpected and unlikely friendship.

I finished reading this days before, but I still think about it a lot. I think about the difficulties that Tokue went through during her younger years, and how her story is somewhat fitting during this time (meaning, the past 2 years or so). This story truly warmed my heart in ways that I never would have imagined. You will surely pick up a lesson or two when reading this, and it will absolutely make you feel for the characters as if you’re one of them.

I highly recommend this ♡

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