Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami is a story told from the perspective of a young boy about his ordinary life. He tells his obsession with the lady who sells sandwiches at a supermarket with unique features and mesmerising pair of eyes. He doesn’t know anything about her but he visits the supermarket regularly to see her. They haven’t exchanged any words apart from the customary conversation of buying sandwiches. One day, after an incident, he stops going to the supermarket but he still can’t get Ms Ice Sandwich out of his head.
The writer depicts the the amorphous obsession of the youth affectionately. The boy’s day to day activities are just simple and very typical as the life of a 4th grader. His growing friendship with his friend Tutti is very touching as well. The conversations between these two kids are as adorable as their characters and sometimes their perceptions are very philosophical despite their age. Both writer and the translator present it ingeniously without a hint of patronisation.
We all have our own unique obsessions in our youth. Some of them still matters till today and some we don’t even remember. I wonder if the protagonist remembers this woman in next 20 or 30 years. Will this be just another phase of his youth.
It is such a lovely novella. The ordinary story of a boy is told in simple narrative. When the narrator is a young person, it usually brings me back to my youth although there isn’t a tad similarity between the narrator and myself. It somehow makes me reminisce. Reading this book is like having a mug of hot cocoa with marshmallows in a cold night. It warms my heart while reading it and its warmth continues to linger on for awhile even after I has finished the book. Enjoyable read, indeed.