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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Girl Who Leapt Through Time (The)
by Yasutaka Tsutsui
Age Range: 14+
Fifteen-year-old Kazuko Yoshiyama accidentally discovers that she can teleport herself back and forward through time following an incident in her school science laboratory. For days afterwards Kazuko feels disorientated and experiences strange dreams. Kazuko’s ability to time-travel allows her to see into the future and warn her friends of imminent danger. Who can she tell about these weird happenings? When she confides in her two school friends, Kazuo and Goro, and her Science Teacher, (who explains that there are some things that can’t be explained by science), they are surprisingly supportive. There is still the mystery of the shadowy figure who Kazuko believes is responsible for her extraordinary paranormal powers. As she sets out to uncover their identity Kazuko discovers that nothing is as it seems and comes face to face with her ultimate challenge.
This slim novella by renowned Japanese writer Yasutaka Tsutsui was written in 1967 and is his fifth work to be translated into English although his first one for young adults. Tsutsui’s dialogue is fairly minimal, with clipped sentences and numerous questions. This style of writing may not be to everyone’s taste but its simplicity allows the reader to follow Kazuko’s thought process, her self-doubt and fear of the unknown. The translator has done an excellent job of conveying the nuances so successfully. Tsutsui writes with wit and a sense of the absurd at times, but within this story there are also some deeper issues that are touched on regarding the future and the outcome of scientific advancements.
There is also an additional short story in the book, 'The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of' about another young girl called Masako who tries to confront her fears resulting from an incident that happened in her childhood which she has blocked out. At the same time she is helping her little brother, Yoshio to conquer his night time fears.