Author: 窪 美澄 (Kubo Misumi)
Reading difficulty: Relatively high. Overall simple grammar but a lot of specialized vocabulary related to medicine, especially childbirth. Each chapter picks the story up from a different narrator’s point of view, which can take some adjusting to at first. Generally favors long descriptions over dialogue. No furigana (except rare words and names, as usual).
Description: Takumi Saitou is a high school student living with his mother, who works as a midwife and runs a maternity house in their own home. He meets with “Anzu”, an older married woman who won’t reveal her real name. They engage in sexual play while cosplaying, unaware that they’re about to set in motion events that will change the lives of many people in their small town.
Review/recommendation: I really enjoyed this book. Despite being unable to read it without pausing to search a lot of vocab, it never felt like I couldn’t understand what was happening, thanks to pretty straightforward grammar. The story was engaging and definitely more contemplation-oriented than action-packed. The sexual themes didn’t feel tacked on, but rather served the narrative. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in daily-life-type stories. It’s worth noting that the book was made into a movie, although I haven’t seen it and can’t comment on it.