From the first page of Eto Mori’s bestselling novel “Colorful,” which became an instant classic in Japan, the book considers a central question of life — what if?
What if you win another opportunity at life? What if you could atone for your mistakes? What if you knew this would be your last chance?
This fascinating story follows a soul who wins the “lottery” with one last chance to re-enter the world of the living and the cycle of rebirth — but there’s a catch. Before the soul can be reborn, it must first live in someone else’s body until it can remember the events that took place in its own life and come to terms with its previous mistakes.
The body chosen for this soul is that of Makoto Kobayashi, a teenager who has just taken his own life. In Kobayashi’s body, the soul at first feels disappointed — he’s shorter than his classmates, with an older brother who torments him, and has no close relationships with friends or family. But as the soul spends more time living as Kobayashi, it swiftly comes to the realization that it doesn’t need to be bound by the previous occupant’s limitations.
The soul embarks on a reinvention of Kobayashi — from his shoes, to his hairstyle, to his demeanor. Everything changes, until only one classmate is sure that something isn’t right. This isn’t the Kobayashi she knew before —and she starts on a mission to find out the truth.
In forging its own path, the soul is confronted by a series of painful revelations about its actions when it was alive, as well as the opportunity to choose differently in its next life. This raises one of the biggest “what ifs” of all — what if you knew this was your final chance? What would you do differently?
The novel touches on tough topics like mental health, suicide, and death, but leaves readers with an uplifting sense of hope. It’s easy to see why the book became a beloved classic in Japan, selling more than one million copies.
Author Mori is a literary celebrity in Japan and has won several of the country’s most prestigious awards for writing and fiction. Her work often is focused toward young adults, and “Colorful” is no exception. Within the world of Kobayashi, high school dramas take on elevated importance, and painful revelations about his family force the soul into difficult decisions, but in the end, the tale touches on the beautiful, inspiring parts of life, too.
“Colorful” (“Karafuru”) has been translated into seven languages. This is the first time it is available in English.Read comments