Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenwan


Rainbirds follows the story of Ren Ishida as he travels to the (fictional) town of Akakawa, Japan to unravel the mystery of his sister Keiko’s murder and try to understand why she abandoned her family in Tokyo so many years before. 

Although the summary makes this book sound like a murder mystery novel, it really isn’t. This is a book about love, relationships, and family. Goenwan creates incredibly rich characters that weave between Ren and his sisters lives and what ends up being unraveled is a human story rather than a murder.

Goenwans wonderful writing style brings the town and it’s inhabitants to life, and a touch of magical realism adds a Murakami-esque dreaminess to the whole story. I highly recommend this book.

This is my favorite novel of 2018 so far, and maybe one of my favorite debut novels ever.  I imagine that Goenwan is an author whose work I will be following for decades to come. It’s exciting to be following her work from the start!

My Rating: 5/5


Side Note: Clarissa Goenwans husband was hit by a car this week and is facing a long road to recovery. I saw the reader community rally around her with support when she shared the news, reminding me how special it is to live in a time when readers and writers have direct contact over social media. I wish her and her family all the best in the coming months. 



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