Thank you to Pushkin Press for providing me with an advance copy of Hideo Furukawa’s novella, Slow Boat, in exchange for an honest review.
PLOT– Furukawa’s novella Slow Boat is translated from the original Japanese by David Boyd. This dream-like story follows a young man named Boku and his desire to escape is native Tokyo, along with his disastrous relationships with women, who share his desire to escape.
LIKE– I read this story in a single sitting, taking me about ninety-minutes. As much as I love novels, I also enjoy reading shorter works where I can wholly immerse myself for the duration of a story, without breaks.
Furukawa’s story isn’t linear, it drifts around with regard to both content and style: for example, there are a few sections written as a newspaper article. My favorite character was a teenage sushi chef. She is bold and sassy, eventually becoming the girlfriend of Boku. Boku realizes that she will have a bigger life outside of Japan and lets her go to pursue an international internship.
DISLIKE– Furukawa mentions that he was inspired by a short story of Haruki Murakami; a story that I have not read. I feel like I may have missed the magic of Slow Boat, by not having read the Murakami story. As it stands, I was not overly impressed with Slow Boat. It was often tedious and slow. I didn’t connect with Boku, which made me resistant to care about his journey.
I’m not sure why, but throughout the novella, letters were missing, making it difficult to read. If memory serves, ” T H & F” were missing in words that contained those letters. I wasn’t sure if this was a stylist choice or perhaps because I had received an ARC. In any case, it was very distracting and served to slow down the pace in which I read Slow Boat.
RECOMMEND- No. I did not enjoy Slow Boat enough to recommend it.