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羊と鋼の森

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Author: Natsu Miyashita

Published: September 15th 2015 by 文藝春秋 (first published September 2015)

Format: Kindle Edition , 158 pages

Isbn: null

Language: Japanese


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★★2016年本屋大賞 大賞受賞作★★ ゆるされている。世界と調和している。 それがどんなに素晴らしいことか。 言葉で伝えきれないなら、音で表せるようになればいい。 「才能があるから生きていくんじゃない。そんなもの、あったって、なくたって、生きていくんだ。あるのかないのかわからない、そんなものにふりまわされるのはごめんだ。もっと確かなものを、この手で探り当てていくしかない。(本文より)」 ピアノの調律に魅せられた一人の青年。 彼が調律師として、人として成長する姿を温かく静謐な筆致で綴った、祝福に満ちた長編小説。

30 review for 羊と鋼の森

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amalia Gavea

    ‘’Inhale the scent of a forest close by. I can smell the earthy fragrance of autumn as night falls, the leaves gently rustling, I can feel the damp air of dusk descending.’’ Our story begins in autumn. Tomura, a young man from Hokkaido, starts working as an apprentice to a piano tuner, a charming man named Mr. Yanagi. Tomura meets all kinds of clients, some sensitive, others abrupt and demanding, but no meeting influences him more than the acquaintance of Kazune, an enigmatic young woman, and ‘’Inhale the scent of a forest close by. I can smell the earthy fragrance of autumn as night falls, the leaves gently rustling, I can feel the damp air of dusk descending.’’ Our story begins in autumn. Tomura, a young man from Hokkaido, starts working as an apprentice to a piano tuner, a charming man named Mr. Yanagi. Tomura meets all kinds of clients, some sensitive, others abrupt and demanding, but no meeting influences him more than the acquaintance of Kazune, an enigmatic young woman, and her twin sister. It is then that Tomura understands his inclination towards the beauty of music through his unique bonding with the forest and the mountains. ‘’When I was walking near the sea, it sounded like the mountains at night.’’ When I was five or six, my mum took me for a walk in Plaka, the most beautiful neighborhood in Athens, a place where one can feel the influence of a centuries-old history, where the quaint houses stand proudly to remind us of a possibly lost innocence and quietness. It was the beginning of summer. As we were walking in one of those unbearably beautiful alleys, the sound of a piano reached us from an open window. This is a moment that is still vivid after many years, its quiet and peace fervent as ever. This is how I felt as I was reading Miyashita’s novel. The sounds and the perfumes, the moonlight gently touching the top of the trees, the sound of the leaves, the smell of the wood. The scenery, the atmosphere comes alive through the pages of this beautiful book. I travelled to Hokkaido with Tomura and saw the seasons changing, the serene autumn reigning among them. I heard the soft, powerful notes of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and dreamt Kazune’s dreams lulled by Chopin’s Nocturnes. Few things are as beautiful as the melody coming from a piano, a sound that has the power to raise your soul to a revolution or make you dream in the moonlight. It is no easy task to depict this in a novel and yet Miyashita creates such an evocative environment, populated with beautiful characters. Ιn a tender, heartfelt translation by Philip Gabriel, we come to know Tomura, Mr. Yanagi, Kazune, to feel their wishes and insecurities. As is always evident in Japanese Literature, the characters and the dialogue communicate a deep connection between nature, family values, and beliefs and the road we have decided to walk. Mr. Yanagi helps Tomura fight his doubts and Tomura helps Kazune believe in herself and her vocation. This novel is a quiet, gentle, atmospheric ode to Nature and Music. To our past and present, to bonding and the belief in ourselves, to the strength we need to discover within us. It is one more example of the uniqueness of Japanese Literature. ‘’Playing the piano is not how I’ll make a living’’, Kazune said. ‘’It’s how I’ll make a life.’’ Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.word...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

    The Forest of Wool and Steel is a story of Tomura who at the age of 17 becomes mesmerised by the sound of a piano played by a piano tuner who just finished the tuning. Tomura suddenly realises that all he wants to do in life is to become a piano tuner. After finishing his piano tuning studies, Tomura starts working as an apprentice in a small city in Hokkaido. Tomura is observing his more experienced colleagues who have many years of experience and can tune pianos to their clients requests. Tomu The Forest of Wool and Steel is a story of Tomura who at the age of 17 becomes mesmerised by the sound of a piano played by a piano tuner who just finished the tuning. Tomura suddenly realises that all he wants to do in life is to become a piano tuner. After finishing his piano tuning studies, Tomura starts working as an apprentice in a small city in Hokkaido. Tomura is observing his more experienced colleagues who have many years of experience and can tune pianos to their clients requests. Tomura loves his job but doubts often creep in making him question his capabilities and whether, one day, he can be as good as his colleagues. This is a beautiful ode to pianos that brought me back to my childhood when I used to play piano. A stern looking man with a mustache would come around every once in a while to tune my piano while I watched him and waited excitedly for 2-3 hours until he was finished and I could try the new sound. At just 200 pages, The Forest of Wool and Steel is a quick read with a simple, yet captivating story about one man's calling and perseverance. Natsu Miyashita has written a lyrical book that is calming, invoking music on its pages. No doubt this book will speak to more than just piano enthusiasts. Many thanks to Penguin Random House UK and NetGalley for my review copy in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ines

    I just didn’t choose a book that suited me, I was very intrigued by synapses, the idea of a story around a piano tuner. Too bad that the whole thing is really slow until the nervous breakdown; all this dreamlike ideas thrown there, can be held up to a certain point... Okay, you get to the end of the book ( and I personally had to pray all the Saints in order to finish this book, i have this syndrome,... never being able to give up on shitty books, i have to finish all i read! Stupid me!!) and wha I just didn’t choose a book that suited me, I was very intrigued by synapses, the idea of a story around a piano tuner. Too bad that the whole thing is really slow until the nervous breakdown; all this dreamlike ideas thrown there, can be held up to a certain point... Okay, you get to the end of the book ( and I personally had to pray all the Saints in order to finish this book, i have this syndrome,... never being able to give up on shitty books, i have to finish all i read! Stupid me!!) and what do you get out of reading? What does a book like that leave you? Nothing to me..... In fact, I’m not ashamed to say it, but Tomura ( the main character) I would have gladly beat him up heavily!!. A fake good book!! (schifo proprio!!) Proprio non ho scelto un libro adatto a me, mi intrigava moltissimo la sinopsi, l'idea di una storia intorno ad un accordatore di pianoforti. Peccato che il tutto sia veramente lento sino all' esaurimento nervoso; tutto questo ridondare di idee oniriche buttate lì si reggono fino ad un certo punto... Ok, arrivi alla fine del libro ( e io personalmente devo accendere i miei soliti ceri votivi non riuscendo a mollare libri a metà) e cosa ne ricavi dalla lettura? cosa ti lascia un libro così? A me nulla..... anzi, non mi vergogno a dirlo, ma Tomura lo avrei preso molto volentieri a mazzate. Un unico pestone, salva il ragazzo dall' illusione...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    My thanks to NetGalley and RandomHouse UK for a review copy of the book. This is a Japanese novel translated into English by Philip Gabriel (who has also translated Murakami). The Forest of Wool and Steel tells us the story of a young man Tomura. As a high school student, Tomura was deputed one day to conduct a piano tuner, Mr Itadori to the school gym to tune the piano. Hearing him work, more specifically the sounds that he manages to produce, evokes in his mind images of the forest at nightfall My thanks to NetGalley and RandomHouse UK for a review copy of the book. This is a Japanese novel translated into English by Philip Gabriel (who has also translated Murakami). The Forest of Wool and Steel tells us the story of a young man Tomura. As a high school student, Tomura was deputed one day to conduct a piano tuner, Mr Itadori to the school gym to tune the piano. Hearing him work, more specifically the sounds that he manages to produce, evokes in his mind images of the forest at nightfall, the forest being the one place where Tomura feels welcome and at peace. This experience affects him so deeply that he decides to train as a piano tuner, even though he has so far never played the piano, nor has much of a ear for music. Once he completes his course, he joins the same company where Mr Itadori works in Hokkaido, and it is here that we follow him as he learns from each little experience—attempts at tuning on his own, accompanying his mentor Mr Yanagi, and other senior tuners from the firm (including the not-so-pleasant Mr Akino), or simply from hearing performances, whether at a concert hall or in a home, as different players (clients) approach the piano differently and require different things from it. In all this, his quest is not simply to become a master tuner or a specific kind of tuner but to achieve the kind of sublime sound from his work that Mr Itadori had, and which inspired him to take up this course in the first place. Among his various clients are twins Yuni and Kazune who are sixth form students, and whose journey with the piano is in a way entwined with Tomura’s own. This book was an interesting read, and while nothing major happens—we are basically following Tomura through his everyday experiences, seeing him learn something new about turning though each visit to a client or each observation of another tuner—yet, at no point did I get bored or feel that the book was dragging. In fact, one feels as though one is learning with Tomura, experiencing each little lesson with him, on the quest with him to become good at his work. Throughout, Tomura is plagued by self-doubt wondering if he will ever be good enough, be able to get past the technicalities and achieve what he is looking for, revising at times, what he thinks his goal should be—this is something that I could (and am sure others would too) relate with because it is about trying to be the best that you can be at something you love, and in that, one does experience these feelings. For Tomura, besides questioning his own abilities, he is constantly considering who he is tuning for—the client, the audience, or perhaps, the instrument itself? Reading this book, something that will strike you throughout is how knowledgeable the author is, not only about the piano and music but about various nuances of tuning—humidity, whether the curtains in a room are open or closed, even the height of the stool of the player are as likely to affect sound as parts of the piano like its hammers and strings. We learn a little of the instrument’s history as well—and all of this knowledge flows naturally though the text, no information dump here. Another aspect which makes this book very pleasant to read is the images and sounds that are invoked when one reads it—Tomura is often thinking of the forest (he was brought up in a mountain village)—all very prettily described. A pleasant read about the quest to be the best in one’s calling! (Also, it hardly feels like one is reading a translation.) The book has won several prizes in Japan and has also been turned into a film. The book releases on 25 April 2019!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    “Whenever I had a spare moment I'd stand in front of the piano, heave open its mighty lid and peer inside. Eighty-eight keys, each with one to three strings attached. The steel strings were taut, and I felt a jolt of excitement each time I contemplated the line of hammers, ranged across the action like an exquisite row of magnolia buds, just waiting to be used. The forest, with everything in perfect balance, was utterly beautiful.” The Forest of Wool and Steel is an award-winning novel by Japanes “Whenever I had a spare moment I'd stand in front of the piano, heave open its mighty lid and peer inside. Eighty-eight keys, each with one to three strings attached. The steel strings were taut, and I felt a jolt of excitement each time I contemplated the line of hammers, ranged across the action like an exquisite row of magnolia buds, just waiting to be used. The forest, with everything in perfect balance, was utterly beautiful.” The Forest of Wool and Steel is an award-winning novel by Japanese author, Natsu Miyashita. Tomura is seventeen when, almost by accident, he hears the old piano in his school's gym being tuned by Mr Soichiro Itadori of the Eto Music Shop. Whatever Mr Itadori is doing, Tomura sees, hears, smells, feels the forest. “He gently presses down on the key and the scent of warm earth and whispering leaves rises up in my mind, drifting from beneath the open lid of the piano.” Not only is he fascinated and deeply moved by the process, but it immediately becomes his vocation. It makes no difference that his family don't really understand: Tomura goes to the school Mr Itadori recommends, where he works hard to gain the knowledge and skill a tuner will need but, of course, that's just the beginning. This earnest young man, solemn and respectful, is grateful to be taken on as a junior tuner at the Eto, and his reverence for the instruments on which he works and his respect for the tuners from whom he learns is apparent. After he has tuned all the pianos in the Eto (multiple times, on his own initiative), he is permitted to accompany Mr Yanagi to client homes and watches spellbound as he efficiently tunes the instrument to the client’s satisfaction (and more). Tomura wonders if he will ever gain Mr Yanagi’s standard (let alone Mr Itadori’s: “…Mt Itadori’s tuning was to be revered. Truly, his gift was to arrange the soundscape of a piano so that its music would shine light into the shadows, revealing even those things that would rather remain out of sight.”) Tomura knew “I wasn’t ready yet, but I looked forward to the day I could help at these places where children would be encountering a piano in the music room or gym for the first time.” About the tuning philosophy of the other master tuner, Tomura is conflicted. Mr Akino maintains that there’s no need to tune to a standard higher than the client’s ability dictates: “A person who usually rides a 50cc motorbike won't be able to manage a Harley.” But he finds that, ultimately, there is something to be learned from this master, despite his spiky attitude, too. He messes up several times and strives to become a good tuner, but it’s such an incredibly nuanced and intuitive craft, he wonders if he will get there. Mr Itadori gives Tomura a tuning philosophy to which he can aspire. Eventually he faces the challenge of tuning for the pianist he most admires, for an audience he truly respects. Miyashita gives the reader some exquisite descriptive prose (in fact, it’s difficult to choose when quoting): “A sound that sends a shiver through the heart…” and “The scenery of the sound” and “How can she make such beautiful chords, like bells ringing in heaven?” and “…the particles of sound were so fine, they sank directly into the heart, and stayed there” are a few examples. “This must have been the standard A above middle C, but I could immediately picture scenery opening out before me, with a path extending through a crisp silvery forest. A young deer seemed to frolic in a hidden glade.” Each of four parts is prefaced by a successively altered line drawing of a piano, and the whole is contained within a gorgeous blue watercolour dustjacket that illustrates the enigmatic title. Which is also explained thus: “Hammers made from sheep’s wool, striking strings of steel. And that becomes music.” It is flawlessly translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel. Most readers will find it impossible to reach the last page without feeling a little uplifted, without a smile on the face. This unbiased review is from a copy provided by Penguin Random House Australia

  6. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    The title of this book is a reference to the internal workings of a piano where wool, in the form of felt covering the hammers, and steel, in the form of piano strings, make the metaphorical forest but also make music. When Tomura hears a piano being tuned in his school hall, this sets him on a path to becoming a piano tuner himself. It turns out piano tuning, at least in this book, is a lot more complicated than simply ensuring each string on the piano plays the right note. Tomura has to battle The title of this book is a reference to the internal workings of a piano where wool, in the form of felt covering the hammers, and steel, in the form of piano strings, make the metaphorical forest but also make music. When Tomura hears a piano being tuned in his school hall, this sets him on a path to becoming a piano tuner himself. It turns out piano tuning, at least in this book, is a lot more complicated than simply ensuring each string on the piano plays the right note. Tomura has to battle with his own self-doubt as he gradually progresses through his apprenticeship: has he got what it takes to be a truly great piano tuner? I went on a very enjoyable journey with this book. It is deceptively simple in many ways. You can read it as a story of a man learning to tune pianos and of a pair of identical twins who play one of those pianos. But I found myself stopping again and again to wonder if there were other things going on. To begin with, I felt like I was reading a Haruki Murakami novel. It’s a different type of story to Murakami, but I kept being reminded of all the Murakami books I have read. Then I discovered the translator is Philip Gabriel who has translated a lot of Murakami, so that was one mystery solved. I think this is the clearest example I have noticed of a translator’s style carrying over between authors. But then, as Tomura’s story develops, I found myself thinking that perhaps this is a story about what it means to be a person who enables the talent of others to show, what it means to learn to be content when you live in the shadows while others live in the limelight: The ideal sound is in harmony with the person who plays the instrument - a sound that allows the pianist’s own talents and personality to shine most brightly. No one thinks about the skill of the tuner. And that is perfectly fine. Then again, as the story progresses, I began to wonder if pianos are simply a symbol for people. Some are old, some are new. Some are expensive/wealthy, some are cheap/poor. Some are cared for, some are neglected. We meet lots of pianos and all them seem almost to be metaphors for different people, people who can be rescued when a “tuner” helps to re-tune them and bring them back to life. There is always the potential even in a long-abandoned piano, cast aside in the worst conditions. If a tuner is called out on a job, that always means someone is planning to play that piano. No matter what its circumstances, it will be ready for action once it has been through our hands. And so I began, intent on getting this piano back to the best condition possible. But then I thought that maybe this was a book about relationships and the way that they can re-tune our lives. Tomura has a long discussion with his younger brother at one point and this brother points out a few home truths which cause Tomura to re-think. Something I’d pushed away from my life had jumped right back into me. It felt as if the outline of the world had suddenly been thrown into sharper relief. Tomura has been re-tuned! But then I began to wonder if the author was asking us to consider novelists as piano tuners, novels as pianos and readers as piano players. Novelists take time to pick and choose words, make the books they write sound the best they can. But what comes out of the books is largely down to the reader. This paragraph is almost certainly me playing a tune with this book that wasn’t in the author’s mind when she tuned the words. One of the joys of reading a novel is that you, the reader, have your own interpretation, play your own tune. Some of what you come up with will coincide with what the author thought about, some may not. The reason I have given this book a high rating is simply because all of these different layers and ideas kept cropping up as I read it. I have no idea how many of these, if any, were the intention of the author, but I don’t think that matters. Natsu Miyashita has given us an instrument on which to play our own tunes and for that we should thank her. My thanks to Transworld Publishers for an ARC of this book via NetGalley. A comfortable 4.5 stars, if only half stars were an option!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bianca

    The Forest of Wool and Steel is a melodious novel about a young man, Tomura, at the beginning of his career as a piano tuner. He's filled with self doubt and thinks he'll never measure up to other masterful piano-tuners. This is a character-driven novel, where nothing much happens, Tomura's journey being more important than the destination. It felt a bit too slow at times, as it goes into quite a few details about pianos, tuning, ways of playing. I enjoyed learning a bit about this magnificent in The Forest of Wool and Steel is a melodious novel about a young man, Tomura, at the beginning of his career as a piano tuner. He's filled with self doubt and thinks he'll never measure up to other masterful piano-tuners. This is a character-driven novel, where nothing much happens, Tomura's journey being more important than the destination. It felt a bit too slow at times, as it goes into quite a few details about pianos, tuning, ways of playing. I enjoyed learning a bit about this magnificent instrument, although I suspect some might find the technical details tedious. The writing was accessible, occasionally, seasoned with some outstanding descriptive passages. Now I'm in the mood to listen to some classical piano music. I've received this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The Forest of Wool and Steel follows Tomura, a seemingly unassuming young man, on his journey to being a piano tuner and manages to be inspirational and empowering in the process. It has a simple fable-like quality to it which works so beautifully and led to a rich, rewarding reading experience. I always tend to find great works of Japanese writers serene and almost calming and this was definitely the case here. Sometimes the translation can skew the original meaning, but I feel it has been carr The Forest of Wool and Steel follows Tomura, a seemingly unassuming young man, on his journey to being a piano tuner and manages to be inspirational and empowering in the process. It has a simple fable-like quality to it which works so beautifully and led to a rich, rewarding reading experience. I always tend to find great works of Japanese writers serene and almost calming and this was definitely the case here. Sometimes the translation can skew the original meaning, but I feel it has been carried out with precision, in this case by the delectable Philip Gabriel who has translated works of my favourite author - Murakami. This is one of those books where nothing much actually happens, you are merely accompanying Tomura on his life's journey, but you learn so much from him. I never felt bored or as though the story was dragging. It is actually quite reminiscent of Mr Murakami's work in that respect. Exquisitely written, with great wisdom and a small but detailed cast of interesting characters, I thoroughly enjoyed this. The nuances and subtleties associated with both playing and tuning a piano are described so wonderfully that it's clear the author knows this instrument inside and out. It's also no surprise to discover that this is the mega-bestselling winner of the influential and prestigious Japan Booksellers Award and was adapted into a movie released in 2018. At its heart, this is a compassionate, uplifting novel which encourages you to be the best you possibly can be. To find your purpose, follow your dreams and reach for your ambitions, and to persevere through the peaks and troughs along the way. The sky is the limit. Many thanks to Doubleday for an ARC.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Nabilah Firdaus

    If I were to compare The Forest of Wool and Steel with something, it would be a literary equivalent of a soft piano melody, which was designed to be calming, reflective and meditating. In this quiet exploration of self, the author chronicles the life of Naoki Tomura whose life has changed through an enchanting sound of a piano being tuned in his school. Feeling motivated, Tomura decided to set about discovering more about piano tuning under the tutelage of three master piano tuners. To be honest If I were to compare The Forest of Wool and Steel with something, it would be a literary equivalent of a soft piano melody, which was designed to be calming, reflective and meditating. In this quiet exploration of self, the author chronicles the life of Naoki Tomura whose life has changed through an enchanting sound of a piano being tuned in his school. Feeling motivated, Tomura decided to set about discovering more about piano tuning under the tutelage of three master piano tuners. To be honest, this book was a mixed bag for me. I really loved the themes running through the book but I was a little less enthusiastic about the subject matter (piano tuning) which make it very difficult for me to fully enjoy Tomura’s journey in becoming a piano tuner. But overall, it was a genuinely reflective read that you can finish in a day. Give it a shot if you fancy something inspiring and uplifting about finding your life’s purpose in this messy, unpredictable world. I was kindly given the review copy of this book by Times Reads in exchange of honest review. You may find this book at all good bookstores around you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    SueLucie

    Such an appealing story. Knowing next to nothing about pianos and still less about tuning them, I was fascinated by all the detail involved in a piano tuner’s job. What clients mean when they want a ‘bright’ sound, for example, and how people’s perception of sound varies. I was particularly taken with the narrator’s likening of the nuances of tone and pitch to the sounds of the forest he grew up in - many opportunities for gorgeous descriptions here. Interesting, too, are his thoughts on the Anc Such an appealing story. Knowing next to nothing about pianos and still less about tuning them, I was fascinated by all the detail involved in a piano tuner’s job. What clients mean when they want a ‘bright’ sound, for example, and how people’s perception of sound varies. I was particularly taken with the narrator’s likening of the nuances of tone and pitch to the sounds of the forest he grew up in - many opportunities for gorgeous descriptions here. Interesting, too, are his thoughts on the Ancient Greeks’ ideas about the interdependence of astronomy and music. In a way I could agree, though, how astronomy and music could be considered foundational to understanding the world. You extract some stars from all the countless ones and make them into constellations. Tuning is similar. You select things of beauty that have dissolved into the fabric of the world. You gingerly extract that beauty, careful not to damage it, and then you make it visible. Seven sounds - do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, or twelve if you include semitones - are teased out, named, and then they sparkle just like the constellations. And it’s the tuner’s job to pick these out with precision from the vast ocean of sound, arrange them delicately and make them resonate. A thoroughly enjoyable book, with a beautiful cover artwork that reflects the story perfectly. With thanks to Random House Doubleday via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Vishy

    I discovered Natsu Miyashita's 'The Forest of Wool and Steel' through my friend Nilmanie's review of it. The book was about the piano and its music and I couldn't wait to read it. Tomura is in high school. One day one of his teachers tells him that a man will arrive in the afternoon at school, and asks Tomura to take this man to the gym. When this man arrives, Tomura takes him to the gym and leaves him there. While Tomura is leaving the gym, this man opens the piano there, presses down some of t I discovered Natsu Miyashita's 'The Forest of Wool and Steel' through my friend Nilmanie's review of it. The book was about the piano and its music and I couldn't wait to read it. Tomura is in high school. One day one of his teachers tells him that a man will arrive in the afternoon at school, and asks Tomura to take this man to the gym. When this man arrives, Tomura takes him to the gym and leaves him there. While Tomura is leaving the gym, this man opens the piano there, presses down some of the keys and plays a few notes, and something beautiful, magical happens in Tomura's mind. It is like someone opened his heart to a Narnia filled with music, in which when each musical note is played, Tomura sees the warm earth, whispering leaves, the forest, the trees. And Tomura comes back while this man is tuning the piano. And that is the end of life as he knows it. The boy from the mountains, Tomura, now wants to dedicate his life to the piano, he wants to become a piano tuner. What happens after that forms the rest of the story. 'The Forest of Wool and Steel' is a beautiful love letter to pianos, piano tuning, music. I loved it. I am happy that I discovered a new favourite book, a new favourite writer. I love how Japanese writers take delightful things, sometimes even everyday things, and compose a beautiful book around them – the way Yoko Ogawa wrote a book about mathematics and baseball, Ito Ogawa wrote about the pleasures of food, Banana Yoshimoto wrote about the seashore and the beach, Hiromi Kawakami wrote about the thrift store, Haruki Murakami wrote about running, Sayaka Murata wrote about the convenience store, Shion Miura wrote about the dictionary, the way Takashi Hiraide, Hiro Arikawa and Genki Kawamura wrote about this beautiful being called the cat. Natsu Miyashita's book is a beautiful addition to this wonderful list of Japanese books which sing a song in praise of all this beauty that surrounds us. I'll leave you with one of my favourite passages from the book. "And here was another thing : 'beautiful', like 'right', was a totally new word for me. Until I'd found the piano I'd never been aware of things that you might call beautiful, which is a little different, of course, from not knowing they exist...The delicate frown lines between the brows of a crying baby. The bare mountain trees beginning to bud, and the ecstasy of the moment when the tips of the branches reflect a reddish hue, casting a warm glow across the mountain. The mountain on fire with these imaginary flames would stop my breath and fill my heart to bursting. It liberated me to have a word for these things – for the trees, the mountains, the seasons. To call them beautiful meant I could take them out any time I wished, exchange them with friends. Beauty was everywhere in the world. I had just never known what to call it or how to recognize it – until that afternoon in the school gym, when it flooded me with joy. If a piano can bring to light the beauty that has become invisible to us, and give it audible form, then it is a miraculous instrument and I thrill to be its lowly servant." Have you read 'The Forest of Wool and Steel'? What do you think about it?

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Furniss

    The synopsis of this book pulled me in straightaway and as a fan of Japanese translated literature plus the accolades of this winning the 2016 Japan Booksellers Award and the translator been Phillip Gabriel who translates for one of my favourite authors Haruki Murakami I quickly got a copy. Our main character Tomura is at school and witnesses the piano undergoing a tuning session. Tomura is completely absorbed with the intricacies of the process and right there and then decides that this is what The synopsis of this book pulled me in straightaway and as a fan of Japanese translated literature plus the accolades of this winning the 2016 Japan Booksellers Award and the translator been Phillip Gabriel who translates for one of my favourite authors Haruki Murakami I quickly got a copy. Our main character Tomura is at school and witnesses the piano undergoing a tuning session. Tomura is completely absorbed with the intricacies of the process and right there and then decides that this is what he will do when he leaves. He is taken on as a student at a piano tuning firm and goes out to jobs with different experts who all offer different perspectives and approaches to the tasks they have to deal with. The advice he receives contains analogies about every day life and often leave him quite perplexed about the correct direction. Tomura finds himself at a job of an identical pair of twins whose style is very different and how they want to express themselves through the piano contrasts and here we see the underlying messages of beauty been within the eye of the beholder, the confusions of growing up e.g. frustrations & attraction. And so the piano tuning becomes a way to explore the feelings of becoming your own person. You don't have to like piano's or be fascinated with music to enjoy this, it's a story told to cleverly deliver life messages that will make you momentarily ponder. A very evocative tale that I enjoyed very much.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gackelchen

    I'm not interested in Pianos, nor in tuning them, and for sure not in classical music. The only piano centered music I know is Yiruma.That being said I was absorbed into the apprenticeship of Tomaru and his struggle in becoming a good enough Piano tuner. I feel as if it is a typically japanese concept, to find so much pride in your work, even if it is a small task to do, you want to do the best work possible.Tomaru's Journey in finding peace with his calling was very touching. Feeling like you´r I'm not interested in Pianos, nor in tuning them, and for sure not in classical music. The only piano centered music I know is Yiruma.That being said I was absorbed into the apprenticeship of Tomaru and his struggle in becoming a good enough Piano tuner. I feel as if it is a typically japanese concept, to find so much pride in your work, even if it is a small task to do, you want to do the best work possible.Tomaru's Journey in finding peace with his calling was very touching. Feeling like you´re never good enough, but still love what you do and never give up doing your very best struck a chord with me. Alongside Tomaru you get to learn a lot about Pianos and its tuning, but don't worry, I thought the main storyline was universal enough to enjoy it even with no interest in these topics.  Natsu Miyashima writes lyrical pictures that stay in your mind for a long time, even after you finished the book. It is a dreamlike state I experienced reading this, pictured from Hokkaido clashing with what was really in front of me. Till the last page I was rooting for Tomaru to find peace.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elvina Zafril

    Such an appealing story. Translated by Philip Gabriel. This book is split into five chapters. Everything about this book is just perfect. I was fascinated by all the detail involved in a piano tuner’s job. Seven sounds - do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, or twelve if you include semitones - are teased out, named, and then they sparkle just like the constellations. And it’s the tuner’s job to pick these out with precision from the vast ocean of sound, arrange them delicately and make them resonate. Such an appealing story. Translated by Philip Gabriel. This book is split into five chapters. Everything about this book is just perfect. I was fascinated by all the detail involved in a piano tuner’s job. Seven sounds - do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do, or twelve if you include semitones - are teased out, named, and then they sparkle just like the constellations. And it’s the tuner’s job to pick these out with precision from the vast ocean of sound, arrange them delicately and make them resonate. This book was calming. It’s always good if you can find this feeling in Japanese literature. Like when you read it you feel calm. You can find that feeling in this book. Tomura is really a beautiful man with beautiful personality. It’s flattering when Tomura questions himself and his abilities. Like he knows he's not perfect but he wants to do what he wants because that is his dream to become a piano tuner. Following Tomura’s journey, I learned so much from him. it's really inspiring. The story was a bit dragging but please stay, you won’t regret it. This is a compassionate novel which encourages you to be the best version of yourself. It was well written and well translated. If you like Japanese Literature, I highly recommend this book. Disclaimer: Thank you Times Reads for sending me a copy of The Forest of Wool and Steel in exchange for an honest review. This book is available in all good bookstores.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alex (PaperbackPiano)

    Apart from the fact that this book had the most perfect subject matter EVER for me, I absolutely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys literary fiction. This was just the loveliest, gentlest little book. There is such a dreamlike quality to the writing that I really loved. Check out this example:- “Pianos want to be played. They are always open – to people and to music, ready to shine a helpful guiding light towards worldly beauty.” I just adore that! This book had some of the most gorgeously en Apart from the fact that this book had the most perfect subject matter EVER for me, I absolutely recommend this one to anyone who enjoys literary fiction. This was just the loveliest, gentlest little book. There is such a dreamlike quality to the writing that I really loved. Check out this example:- “Pianos want to be played. They are always open – to people and to music, ready to shine a helpful guiding light towards worldly beauty.” I just adore that! This book had some of the most gorgeously enchanting imagery that I think even non-musicians will appreciate. And as for myself, reading this book had me absolutely itching to play! It is clear that Miyashita loves the instrument herself. This is a very character-driven book. There is very little in terms of major plot action but I just loved being gently lulled by this book each time I picked it up. I did think that one of the piano tuners, Mr Akino, was a bit rude but I suppose there had to be some form of conflict somewhere! Overall though, this was just a lovely quiet book and definitely one that all those who are musically inclined should pick up!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Bateman

    Charming and mystical with endearing characters. Not much happened and lots of references to piano tuning being a metaphor for life. A sweet, relaxing read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    jesslyn

    It is easy to understand why The Forest of Wool and Steel has been such a hit in Japan; it’s a beautiful and totally immersive work of fiction. The elaborate descriptions of the piano-tuning process have an almost ethereal quality. The meandering pace and the disconnection the reader feels from today’s fast-paced world for the search of perfection through sound and nature will strike a chord with many. Especially for a natural music lover, it's not just music that they love, the instrument which It is easy to understand why The Forest of Wool and Steel has been such a hit in Japan; it’s a beautiful and totally immersive work of fiction. The elaborate descriptions of the piano-tuning process have an almost ethereal quality. The meandering pace and the disconnection the reader feels from today’s fast-paced world for the search of perfection through sound and nature will strike a chord with many. Especially for a natural music lover, it's not just music that they love, the instrument which produces it has the same amount of magical quality for them. For a person who likes music however does not have the ability to play a tune, this book has given me major insights of piano interior machinery, also makes me grasp the importance of piano tuners out there, their delicacy and intimate skills.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ros

    What a delightful surprise this book turned out to be!

  19. 5 out of 5

    biblio_mom (Aiza)

    Translated by Philip Gabriel (A translator for Murakami) Its appealing, wonderful and very metaphorical. Natsu Miyashita is like the Japanese version of Paulo Coelho, but it feels like something is off. Maybe because of the translations? I am not sure. But a friend told me, she have read the original version for a bit and they both felt the same. What pulls me in is the synopsis. It follows a young man called Tomura, who fell in love at the sound of piano tuning in his school. He was raised in the Translated by Philip Gabriel (A translator for Murakami) Its appealing, wonderful and very metaphorical. Natsu Miyashita is like the Japanese version of Paulo Coelho, but it feels like something is off. Maybe because of the translations? I am not sure. But a friend told me, she have read the original version for a bit and they both felt the same. What pulls me in is the synopsis. It follows a young man called Tomura, who fell in love at the sound of piano tuning in his school. He was raised in the mountains and came from a poor family where nobody would understand why he had chosen to be a piano tuner. As an apprentice, he learn many things about piano tuning and gets to know many people along the way learning with his master tuners. Tomura gets fond with the lovely twin sisters. Each key pressed took Tomura into the forest. It was told in a very descriptive and lyrical way. If you like Japanese fiction, and a fan of Murakami, I recommend this book. Thank you times.reads for sending me this copy!

  20. 4 out of 5

    caravaggion

    this was a soft, quiet but very unique book which had a very calming effect on me while reading it without being boring in any way - it felt really homely and cozy and magical in this miraculous way only few books manage im glad i read this in-between all the exhausting information-packed books i've been reading lately

  21. 5 out of 5

    Thelivrelovers

    Book: The Forest of wool and steel by Natsu Miyashita Genre: Japanese Literature Pages: 224 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Forest of wool and steel is a beautiful book. It tells the story of a boy Tomura, who at the age of 17 finds his calling in life to become a piano tuner and traces his journey in fulfilling that purpose. This book is written in a beautiful manner that it not only evokes feelings but also makes you resonate with it. The hardship that the protagonist suffers through in the book, is so relata Book: The Forest of wool and steel by Natsu Miyashita Genre: Japanese Literature Pages: 224 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Forest of wool and steel is a beautiful book. It tells the story of a boy Tomura, who at the age of 17 finds his calling in life to become a piano tuner and traces his journey in fulfilling that purpose. This book is written in a beautiful manner that it not only evokes feelings but also makes you resonate with it. The hardship that the protagonist suffers through in the book, is so relatable that you will end up being inspired by his tenacity. “When you heard Kazune play, it summoned up visible, tangible scenery. Light shining down among the trees, wet with morning dew. Drops of water sparkling on the tips of leaves, then dripping down.” The author has a very compelling way of writing. She uses imagery heavily in the book and for someone who is a visual person they would love reading this book. Despite being a simple story it teaches you a lot along the way. This book feels like a metaphor for all the people who are searching their purpose in life. It guides you and it humbles you. This book is not meant to be read in a single day, you have to savour it just like wine to fully appreciate it. The feel of this book is very similar to the “Flavour of the youth” and the Ghibli studios movies ( if you’ve watched the movies, you know what I’m referring to). I would recommend this book to people who love to read a fiction book which combines music and nature; and enjoy the story leisurely.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    A short novel (and the third unexpected book - all excellent, though this was the best - I picked by chance in a British bookstore on my recent visit there) and it was just awesome; the first half is among the best ever reading experience as it is magical and enthralling (the story is simple, a boy from an iso9lated mountain village in Japan gets to watch a piano tuner at work by chance when he is deputized by the principal of his school to greet him and show him around to the school piano, and A short novel (and the third unexpected book - all excellent, though this was the best - I picked by chance in a British bookstore on my recent visit there) and it was just awesome; the first half is among the best ever reading experience as it is magical and enthralling (the story is simple, a boy from an iso9lated mountain village in Japan gets to watch a piano tuner at work by chance when he is deputized by the principal of his school to greet him and show him around to the school piano, and seeing for the first time the "forest of wool and steel" that is the inside of the piano, he just finds an unexpected harmony with it and decides to become a piano tuner himself); the second half while still excellent is a bit more mundane as things settle down and become more predictable; great characters, lyrical prose (and of course translation) and a reading experience not to be missed Highly, highly recommended

  23. 4 out of 5

    Hizatul Akmah

    Playing the piano is not how I'll make a living. It's how I'll make a life. Imagine your whole life changed when you listened to the hauntingly beautiful music coming from an instrument that you know next to nothing about? Tomura didn't grow up in a family that could afford to send him to the piano class but it didn't change the fact that he was always been born to be a piano tuner. I'm a fan of descriptive writings that could make all the words come alive in my head. Like, I could listen to the Playing the piano is not how I'll make a living. It's how I'll make a life. Imagine your whole life changed when you listened to the hauntingly beautiful music coming from an instrument that you know next to nothing about? Tomura didn't grow up in a family that could afford to send him to the piano class but it didn't change the fact that he was always been born to be a piano tuner. I'm a fan of descriptive writings that could make all the words come alive in my head. Like, I could listen to the piano notes when I was reading this book. It was indeed that good. Every single of the dialogues between the characters was so well-thought out and believable that I felt like I was there, watching them talking in front of me myself. The best part of the story was how Tomura's journey to become the piano tuner was never easy. He followed his seniors around and learned from his mistakes and even got rejected from his clients multiple times too. But that's life, isn't it? Life is not supposed to be easy, at all. You see, talent will out if you really love something. A tenacity, a fight in you that keeps you in the fray no matter what. Something like that. That's the way I've come to think of it. I love reading books that make me thinking and pondering about my own life even though they're merely fictional so when I read this book I even dog-eared (sorry to some readers that reading this hahaha) some pages because I felt like I have to revisit them someday. actual rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️ Thanks to Times Reads for giving me this free ARC in exchange for my honest review. This book is now available in all bookstores around you!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Greg

    * I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. * The Forest of Wool and Steel is a metaphor for a piano, which creates music through wool felt hammers striking steel strings. Tomaru is an aimless student from the mountain country, until he hears a piano tuner at work in his high school gym. The experience transports him and he instantly knows what he wants to do with his life. After getting some training, he gets a job as an apprentice. The book then r * I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. * The Forest of Wool and Steel is a metaphor for a piano, which creates music through wool felt hammers striking steel strings. Tomaru is an aimless student from the mountain country, until he hears a piano tuner at work in his high school gym. The experience transports him and he instantly knows what he wants to do with his life. After getting some training, he gets a job as an apprentice. The book then recounts his slow progress towards mastery of his chosen trade, including years of self-doubt and reservations about his abilities from his co-workers. In this path he finds a muse, Kazune, a student whose talent he recognises and who sparks a desire in him to be a tuner that she will want to work with. This is quite an unusual concept for a novel. Miyashita's characters are warm and empathetic, and her story provides a gentle and observant account of the twisting path to attaining one's goals in life.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    A beautiful story about how to find "your calling", and more importantly, how to deal with the disappointment and anxiety that comes with being unable to find or fullfil it. Such a light but emotional read that tought me a few lessons (and a great deal about piano tuning). Love educational fiction!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kaffeeklatsch and Books

    This was a beautifully written ode to piano music and tuning. We follow a young man called Tomura study how to become a tuner and work alongside his colleagues. I also learned a lot about the work itself, which is rather interesting. This is a slow-paced and lyrical book. If you like Japanese fiction, I can recommend this book. Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a copy.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alan Bevan

    A gentle account of a young man becoming a piano tuner, learning about himself in the process. The Japanese culture shines through. For me, it brought a deeper appreciation of the complexity of the piano, not just in a mechanical sense but as a medium to express sound.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bethwyn Badger

    I loved this soft and understated book. Tomura is such an interesting character, with so many doubts but still following his dreams as much as he can. There were some absolutely beautiful passages in here. There is a small place in my heart for this book now.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debora

    This book is such a beautiful symphony of experiences and discoveries - absolutely gorgeous!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zohal

    Anyone who loves pianos would love this!

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