There is nothing like the last week in a country you’ve been living in for several years: the intensity of every moment, the burning desire to absorb every sight and sound, the constant postponement of final goodbyes, the sheer exhilaration that is mixed in with the fear and pain of everything that has made up your life disappearing around you. I should know, I’ve done it several times in my life. And this is the genius premise behind Cecilia Vinesse’s Seven Days of You, which I just devoured and am already missing.
It’s not just that her characters are unusual and well drawn and likeable (but they are), or that her Tokyo is so vividly described it literally leaves the taste of miso soup in your mouth (but it is), it’s also that her narrative is beautifully crafted around a literal countdown to the moment it must all end, so that we’re feeling every second that ticks by. I love the peppering of Japanese throughout the prose and, despite having zero experience of the country, never felt disorientated by it. Instead I felt like I was part of the cool Tokyo scene, heading off to karaoke, buying weird candy at the konbini, watching the sun rise over the neon galaxy of the cityscape.
SDOY is a gorgeous exploration of something that any long-term expat (or in fact anyone) can identify with – where is home? Once you’ve been gone a certain amount of time from where you started, will anywhere ever really feel like home again? But what even is this thing we call ‘home’ anyway? Sensitive, gripping, beautiful – SDOY is an exhilarating, sparkly, all-night stroll through Tokyo, and I loved every minute.
Many thanks to Little, Brown Books For Young Readers and NetGalley for the eARC.