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Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Gallery Books; Original edition (June 4, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451667264
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451667264
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,489,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa is a haunting, mysterious, and beautifully-executed novel. I couldn't put it down while I was reading it, and days later I find myself thinking of the characters, of the secret lives of Paris and New York, of the question of how well we ever really know our friends. Benjamin Constable's elegant debut reads like a cross between a puzzle and a fairytale." (Emily St. John Mandel author of The Lola Quartet)

"A haunting book as much about the creative process as it is about the characters." (Kirkus)

"An offbeat tale—dark but playful." (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

Benjamin Constable was born in Bristol and grew up mostly in Derby. He lives in Paris where he writes fiction and teaches English. Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

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Although reading this book I also thought that Butterfly was a good storyteller as well.
Cheryl Koch
A few times I got downright angry, and toward the end I felt there were almost too many twists.
Monika
I devoured this book, and then went back to read it again a few days later: it was that good.
Gaele

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stellalunna on June 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
** I recieved a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest reveiw **

“Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa” will have you guessing until the end.

I found this book hard to put down. I devoured its pages but interestingly I’m not really sure what it was that entranced me so. Maybe it was the over all mystery: is Tomomi Ishikawa really dead or is it all an elaborate ploy to make Benjamin Constable’s life more interesting? As I read I couldn’t help thinking I hope this book pays off in the end and doesn’t just fizzle out. I will be so upset if the ending isn’t brilliant and I have to say I was not disappointed. While the over all plot was predictable the ending is extraordinary!

Tomomi as a character is so full of psychosis, neurosis, quirks and foibles that I just couldn’t wait for the next pronouncement of her heinous past. Not only had I wonder through out the story is she alive but did she do what she confesses to? Don’t worry I will not tell, that is for you to find out.

Reading the pages it was fascinating all the details about Paris and NY City. I have visited both places and it was interesting to live it through the author’s eyes.

Constable’s characters are so vivid and entertaining but I have a special place in my heart for Cat. I was reminded of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s when I started to read, however this Cat would not fit into that setting at all. Cat has so much confidence and attitude that on many occasions I found myself just laughing out loud.

Being that this is a debut for Benjamin Constable I have to say I am flabbergasted at how much depth there is. This is an amazing first book and I for one can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Man of La Book on August 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa by Ben­jamin Con­sta­ble is an imag­i­na­tive novel. This is the debut novel for a very promis­ing new writer.

Tomomi "But­ter­fly" Ishikawa com­mit­ted sui­cide but left her best friend, Ben­jamin Con­sta­ble, a trail of clues which lead him from Paris to New York and back - the cities she called "home". Ben is search­ing for jour­nals and notes left specif­i­cally for him.

Ben goes on his quest which gets stranger with each new find­ing. With his imag­i­nary cat and a girl which helps him around the unfa­mil­iar ter­ri­to­ries in New York, Ben dis­cov­ers new aspects of his friend which he never imagined.

Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa by Ben­jamin Con­sta­ble is an imag­i­na­tive and some­what inter­est­ing novel. I loved the way it was writ­ten, with a slight of hand and a healthy sense of humor, but as the story pro­gressed it started to fall a bit flat.

The one enigma which is con­stant through­out the book and in between the lines is the rela­tion­ship between Tomomi Ishikawa and Ben­jamin Con­sta­ble. That rela­tion­ship is con­fus­ing to say the least because there is one real rela­tion­ship and two imag­i­nary ones: the real rela­tion­ship and the fic­tional his to hers and hers to his. While I think it was a great premise and some­thing that would cer­tainly be applic­a­ble to real life, the rela­tion­ship between the char­ac­ters and between the rela­tion­ships them­selves was never really explored.

As much as I try I can­not char­ac­ter­ize this book, I admire Mr. Con­sta­ble for writ­ing a novel which defies a genre.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By The Bookish Dame on July 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
THE BOOKISH DAME REVIEWS :

This is an odd little book. One of those that starts out feeling contrived and suddenly sinks its teeth in you and won't let go. It simply "grows on you." I confess I didn't like it to begin with, but the more I decided to give it a chance, the more I liked it.

The author has a way of causing his characters to become endearing as you read the quandary of Ben to find Butterfly's clues to her mysterious self and the "task" she's set him. Ben is immediately captivating. He's the proverbial innocent boy-next-door who needs someone to shake up his life; and, Butterfly seems the perfect, quirky girl to do just that.

What I also really loved about the book was the details about Paris...some odd little tidbits. And I liked the glimpses into the computer and journal life of Butterfly as she led Ben on and left her "clues." New York looked pretty awesome in this author's eyes, as well!

This isn't a book for everyone. I'd say it's rather a quest into something unusual and a taste of something a little sweet 'n sour off the shelves. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it may not be for everyone's tastes.
One of those books you have to sit back and let take you on a serendipitous trip...

4 stars Deborah/TheBookishDame
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jenni M. Parks on June 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
Ben Constable has written a book about, well, Ben Constable. In Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa we are treated to a dark and psychologically gripping story of our protagonist, Ben Constable, and his friend Tomomi (who goes by the nickname Butterfly). The novel opens with Ben and Butterfly exchanging letters about a book that Ben plans to write. The rest of the novel details the experiences of Ben after he is notified of Tomomi's death. The dialogue is clever and draws the reader in to the heart of the suspense and action. The revelation that Tomomi has committed suicide sends Ben off on a wild goose chase of a scavenger hunt that was set in place by Tomomi herself. Soon it becomes clear that not everything is as it seems and that Ben never really knew Tomomi or what she was capable of. As Ben questions his relationship with Tomomi and asks himself what kind of darkness may have been hidden in her heart, he begins to realize, as does the reader, that he may be in grave danger. Will he unravel the mysteries Tomomi has left behind for him? Is each clue leading him toward his own death? And can we ever really know our friends? These are the questions we ask ourselves as we move toward the end of Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa.

By the time we reach the conclusion, we start to ask different questions. Is Tomomi a real person known to the author and is the exchange in the beginning of the novel perhaps genuine? Is the rest of the novel his fulfillment of a promise to write a fictional novel about their relationship? Or are the letters in the opening chapter the voice of not Ben the author but Ben the protagonist and the rest of the novel his `fictional' story (story within a story for the win).
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