Review: The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida (Clarissa Goenawan)


Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: March 10th 2020
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing Books
Page Count: 278

Blurb from Goodreads:

University sophomore Miwako Sumida has hanged herself, leaving those closest to her reeling. In the months before her suicide, she was hiding away in a remote mountainside village, but what, or whom, was she running from? To Ryusei, a fellow student at Waseda; Chie, Miwako’s best friend; and Fumi, Ryusei’s older sister, Miwako was more than the blunt, no-nonsense person she projected to the world. Heartbroken, Ryusei begs Chie to take him to the village where Miwako spent her final days. While he is away, Fumi receives an unexpected guest at their shared apartment in Tokyo, distracting her from her fear that Miwako’s death may ruin what is left of her brother’s life. Expanding on the beautifully crafted world of Rainbirds, Clarissa Goenawan gradually pierces through a young woman’s careful facade, unmasking her most painful secrets.




TW: Sexual assault.

Wow, what a ride.

I really thought this book was only about universities sophomores finding love in campus, but boy I was indeed wrong. It’s more than that. It’s actually about a young woman enduring such excruciating secrets about herself.

I was really hooked from page one, as we were firstly introduced to the male protagonist in the story, Ryusei. There were three point of views in the story, firstly from Ryusei, Chie and Fumi-nee. All of the views would eventually lead to how and why Miwako Sumida lived her life that way. It was so interesting to read how each of them revealed their feelings and perspectives towards Miwako Sumida page by page, from her careful facade to unraveling her deepest secrets. They also shared on how each of them tried to understand why Miwako did that and later dealt with the aftermath of Miwako’s passing. The chapters alternated with the past and present, so we received glimpses of Miwako’s past and present life. This story was actually so sad to read as Miwako faced so much pain in her life that she swallowed all of it until the end without sharing it to anyone.

The most fascinating part in the book was from Fumi-nee point of view. In Ryusei’s POV, she was written to be such a mysterious and secretive character. However, she has a story of her own as she endured so much pain and suffering from a young age. The revelation about Miwako at the end was totally unexpected that I had to reread the previous pages a few times to confirm.

The writing was perfect and easy to follow and the main characters were really fleshed out. This book is perfect for those who love psychological mystery.

In The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, the writer shows the exploration of grief and pain and how pain can truly cost lives. This is one of those books that will stick with you for some time. One of the best books I’ve read so far in 2020.

Thank you Pansing Books for sending me a copy of The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida in exchange of an honest review.



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