Non 1001 Book Review: Yuki Chan in Brontë Country
Yuki Chan in Brontë Country by Mick Jackson
Published in: January 2016
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Find it here: Yuki Chan in Brontë Country
This ARC was provided by Faber & Faber Ltd (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis from Goodreads: “They both stop and stare for a moment. Yuki feels she’s spent about half her adult life thinking about snow, but when it starts, even now, it always arresting, bewildering. Each snowflake skating along some invisible plane. Always circuitous, as if looking for the best place to land . . .”
Yukiko tragically lost her mother ten years ago. After visiting her sister in London, she goes on the run, and heads for Haworth, West Yorkshire, the last place her mother visited before her death. Against a cold, winter, Yorkshire landscape, Yuki has to tackle the mystery of her mother’s death, her burgeoning friendship with a local girl, the allure of the Brontës and her own sister’s wrath. Both a pilgrimage and an investigation into family secrets, Yuki’s journey is the one she always knew she’d have to make, and one of the most charming and haunting in recent fiction.
Book Worm’s Thoughts: Yuki is a young Japanese woman who has come to England to try and reconnect with her late mother by following in her footsteps. All Yuki has to guide her is a set of photographs showing various views in Haworth (Bronte country). Yuki believes her mother visited Haworth because of her enjoyment of the Bronte’s works, however when she meets people who remember her mother’s visit, it turns out her reason being in Haworth is very different and may even provide a clue to her tragic death.
As a character I liked Yuki, she is a young woman struggling to find her place and come to terms with the loss of her mother. You might expect this to make her serious and dull but Yuki is entertaining and funny. I really enjoyed her irreverent descriptions of the Bronte tour and the kind of people on the tour with her as well as her wry observations about the British tourist industry.
There is a serious side to Yuki and this is shown by her need to explore things scientifically. There is a detailed section on snow and the varieties of snow flakes and how they may be produced in controlled conditions. Despite her in-depth knowledge about Snow Yuki is still young at heart enough to appreciate the magic of falling snow (so am I) and this allowed me as a reader to connect with her.
The ending is ambiguous and usually I would hate that (I like things all tied up neatly preferably with a big red bow and a reassuring “The End”), however in this case the ambiguity didn’t bother me because it allowed Yuki and the reader to draw their own conclusions and to choose from two versions of events.
This one refers to an English hotel with shared bathroom facilities “The woman smiles and Yuki smiles right back, nodding madly. Perfect! Now I can brush my teeth while sitting on the lavatory”
“Your mother and I could see who you were right from the very beginning. You were right there, the moment we set eyes on you.”
Who would like this book? If you are looking for a book that revolves round the Brontes, this is not it (in this instance the title is misleading). However, if you like a story that involves an unconventional heroine, discovering family secrets, forming new friendships, and coming to terms with the past, then I think you will enjoy this.
Want to try it for yourself? You can find a copy here: Yuki Chan in Brontë Country
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