雨と夢の後に、柳美里。Below rain and dream, a novel by Yu Miri.
“Ame to Yume no ato ni” exists also as a Japanese Drama, but it will no be question of that in the ticket. This article is focused on the book only.
Ame is a middle-school girl whose father, Tomoharu, is a butterfly hunter. With his job, Tomoharu has to travel to a lot of countries in the world, forcing his daughter to have a lonely daily life most of time. Ame, written with the Japanese character rain, does not like her name, as well as she doesn’t like rain, and as well as she doesn’t like being alone at her place. But she has no choice to wait for her father and to continue her life as if he were here. Why her father has chosen such a name? Tomoharu’s name means Morning Clear sky, the opposite of Rain…
One day, in Taiwan, Tomoharu falls in a deep hole in the jungle and injures himself. he was chasing at this moment a butterfly called Kotoki-shita-ageha (コウトウキシタアゲハ). Fortunately, he comes back to his daughter a couple of days later. When he comes back home, his shoes are full of mud and he looks so wet, and so cold. But Tomoharu promises Ame that they will never get separated again. Tomoharu’s return from Taiwan coincides with the meeting of Ame with her strange neighbour, a young women who had problems with her fiance. This women has always the same laundry hanging at her balcony. What a messy person, no?
Reading this novel will make you travel through the eyes of this young 12-year-old girl who has to grow up as an adult quickly than she thought. You really have to see this book as a journey, where a young girl discovers more and more about her first, and people in her environment. Sometimes she feels lost, sometimes she cries, but also sometimes she is happy. And Yu Miri has particularly focused the novel to make the reader live the story through Ame’s emotions. This makes the book easy to read for both Japanese people and even foreigners I think. “Ame to Yume no ato ni” is classified as an horror book. This is kind of true, but after reading it, perhaps you will think “What is scary here?”. Horror events are made pretty softly so as not to change the orientation of storyline. There are a couple of non naturals events, of course, but they are perfectly in accordance to the environment of apartments 205 and 206.
This novel is really light to read, and you will have pleasure go through the adventures lived by Ame and her father Tomoharu. A nice combination of quest to truth, of children dreams, and of Japanese traditional believes gives a nice balance that help the reader go until the end of the adventures of Ame. That is why I strongly recommend this novel.
Previously, I told “Japanese tradition”… What has it to do with the story of a middle-school girl and her father? Unfortunately you will have to read this book if you want to know more. So have fun go through it, even several times. When you see it in a book store, you should not even hesitate to take it!
Note about the title translation: I thought “Below” was more adapted than “After” or the idea of something happening as a consequence of another event. To my viewpoint, it sticks more to the spirit of the book. My apologies if you think this is not exact.