What to read: Catfish Rolling, by Clara Kumagai

Cover of the book CATFISH ROLLING by Clara KumagaiI’m always kind of envious of people who are able to read new releases immediately when they come out. Or, maybe envious isn’t the right word; more life baffled. How does anyone manage to keep up with all of the books they buy and have backlogged that they’re actually able to clear the decks and read something brand spanking new? I still have unread books on my shelf that I received for my 40th birthday. We won’t talk about how many years ago that was.

(OK, fine. It was 14 years ago. Almost 15. Happy now?)

Anyway, where was I? Right, reading. Surprisingly myself completely, my latest read was a book that came out in 2023. Practically yesterday! I’m glad I didn’t sleep on this any longer than I already have, because Catfish Rolling by Clara Kumagai (a friend and fellow UBC alum) is the best book I’ve read this year:

There’s a catfish under Japan, and when it rolls, the land rises and falls. At least, that’s what Sora was told after she lost her mother to an earthquake so powerful that it cracked time itself. Sora and her father are some of the few who still live near one of these “zones”—the places where time has been irrevocably sped up or slowed down.

Sora’s at a crossroads of her own in life: she’s just finished high school, her best friend is moving away, and her father, a time researcher, is increasingly plagued by memory problems and erratic behavior. When he goes missing, she embarks on a journey into the zones to find him, with the help of Maya, a new friend who could possibly be more.

This book is so beautifully and vividly written, and the gorgeous language is combined with a page-turning plot that kept me devouring the story to see what was going to happen. And it has the kind of ending that encouraged me to sit with it and contemplate it after I was finished, letting it settle, hopefully like the restless catfish.

But enough of my rambling. Go out and get it! Meanwhile, I have to decide what to read next….

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