Lonely Castle in the Mirror was one of the books I did not want to stop reading. I started reading the book without looking at its subject or the comments about it. And I’m so glad I did. This beautiful book was a fairy tale, although it is mentioned in the genres of young adult and even children’s book, I don’t think it fits into any genre. But, I realized I missed reading fairy tales.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror is a hugely popular book with more than half a million sold in Japan alone. Probably because adults, as well as children, read it with pleasure, it won awards and became a sensation. Set in contemporary Japan, the book deals with the problems young people experience. While doing this, it creates a fantastic world. In the story, which includes classic fairy tales, seven children find themselves in a castle they never expected. The Wolf Queen in the castle tells them that one of them will be granted a wish fulfilled if they find the hidden key. After this, the story expands into many fields.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror, which focuses on the growing concept of otaku* in Japan, explains the reasons for this situation. And it explains it so well with fantastic elements that one gets lost in the book. The story touches on friendship, empathy, finding yourself, staying strong and many more. I think everyone, young and old, will love it. Enjoy!
*In Japan, otaku has generally regarded as an offensive word, due to the negative cultural perception of withdrawal from society. However, the otaku philosophy of living has gained traction among Japanese youth and adolescents, likely as a reaction to the established culture of intense work and academic studies.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror
Seven students are avoiding going to school, hiding in their darkened bedrooms, unable to face their family and friends, until the moment they discover a portal into another world that offers temporary escape from their stressful lives. Passing through a glowing mirror, they gather in a magnifcent castle which becomes their playground and refuge during school hours.
The students are tasked with locating a key, hidden somewhere in the castle, that will allow whoever finds it to be granted one wish. At this moment, the castle will vanish, along with all memories they may have of their adventure. If they fail to leave the castle by 5 pm every afternoon, they will be eaten by the keeper of the castle, an easily provoked and shrill creature named the Wolf Queen.
Delving into their emotional lives with sympathy and a generous warmth, Lonely Castle in the Mirror shows the unexpected rewards of reaching out to others. Exploring vivid human stories with a twisty and puzzle-like plot, this heart-warming novel is full of joy and hope for anyone touched by sadness and vulnerability.
Lonely Castle in the Mirror
How can you save your friend’s life if she doesn’t want to be rescued?
In a tranquil neighbourhood of Tokyo, seven teenagers wake to find their bedroom mirrors are shining.
At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives to a wondrous castle filled with winding stairways, watchful portraits and twinkling chandeliers. In this new sanctuary, they are confronted with a set of clues leading to a hidden room where one of them will be granted a wish. But there’s a catch: if they don’t leave the castle by five o’clock, they will be punished.
As time passes, a devastating truth emerges: only those brave enough to share their stories will be saved.
Mizuki Tsujimura is a Japanese writer from Fuefuki, Yamanashi. Tsujimura specializes in mystery novels. She writes both for adults and children. Tsujimura is the winner of the 2018 Japan Booksellers’ Award for her novel Kagami no Kojo (Lonely Castle in the Mirror).
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: