Review: Yuki Chan in Bronte Country by Mick Jackson

yuki-chan-in-bronte-country

Publisher: Faber & Faber
Release date: January 21, 2016
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 272
Goodreads || Book Depository

The new novel from Mick Jackson, Booker Prize-shortlisted author of The Underground Man and Ten Sorry Tales.

‘They both stop and stare for a moment. Yuki feels she’s spent about half her adult life thinking about snow, but when it starts, even now, it’s always arresting, bewildering. Each snowflake skating along some invisible plane. Always circuitous, as if looking for the best place to land…’

Yukiko tragically lost her mother ten years ago. After visiting her sister in London, she goes on the run, and heads for Haworth, West Yorkshire, the last place her mother visited before her death.

Against a cold, winter, Yorkshire landscape, Yuki has to tackle the mystery of her mother’s death, her burgeoning friendship with a local girl, the allure of the Brontes and her own sister’s wrath.

Both a pilgrimage and an investigation into family secrets, Yuki’s journey is the one she always knew she’d have to make, and one of the most charming and haunting in recent fiction.

MY THOUGHTS

35 stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

Yuki Chan in Brontë Country was a little bit of a strange read for me. I had no idea what to expect going into this book but it surprised me and disappointed me at the same time. It was an incredibly insightful book with a lot of wonderful elements but it wasn’t as emotional as I would’ve liked it to be.

This book starts off with our main character Yukiko travelling to Haworth, which is a place that’s associated with the Brontë sisters. The story is ostensibly about a young Japanese tourist visiting notable Brontë landmarks, but we soon realise that Yuki is no avid Brontë fan. She quickly escapes from the tour she’s joined and sets off on her own journey around Haworth. We get to see Yuki’s true agenda as she walks around searching for places that her mother visited a decade ago, hoping for some clue or insight into her mother’s mysterious death. Along the way she meets some interesting characters, forms a new friendship and uncovers what really happened to her mother 10 years ago.

My favourite aspect of this book were definitely the characters. I can count the number of characters in this book on one hand, but I really appreciated that we got to see so much of Yuki. I could feel the loneliness yet wonder of travelling alone in a foreign country and I thought this book really captured the tone beautifully. Yuki is a very intelligent and independent character and I thoroughly enjoyed following her around on her quest to uncover the secrets of her mothers death. I liked her focus and her tenacity, and the fact that she wasn’t afraid to find ways to get what she wanted. Her character was complex and completely relatable, and I just wanted to be her friend because she was so smart and funny. She’s a character that is likeable from the very first chapter and I couldn’t help but be sucked into her story.

The pace of this book was slow for the most part, but I enjoyed how much the pace and the writing of the book added to the atmosphere of the story. The slow pace really complemented the mysterious and the slightly eerie paranormal elements in the book. The writing was extremely calming and soothing and had wonderful flow throughout the book. The mix of humour with melancholy worked beautifully in this book, and I felt like I was there with Yuki as she navigated the snowy winter days and nights in Haworth.

I have to admit that I didn’t always know what was going on in the book, but it almost didn’t matter because everything was wrapped up so nicely at the end of the book. The building sense of discomfort and melancholy ended with such a cathartic release that I felt very satisfied with what I read. Of course, I wished that the book could have been a little bit longer and more fleshed out, in order for me to connect even more with Yuki’s story and the emotion behind her loss, but overall I thought this was a wonderful and charming story.

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15 thoughts on “Review: Yuki Chan in Bronte Country by Mick Jackson

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yeah I think, considering that it was about her mother’s death and Yuki coming to terms with everything that happened, I needed it to be just a little bit more emotional. It wasn’t too bad and I can kind of understand that it’s probably not in the nature of the MC to be super upset about it… but it just felt slightly lacking in that regard. Still a wonderful story that was quick to read!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      Yeah I also wished that the book was slightly longer but I didn’t have too much of a problem with the length. It’s a nice one or two sittings kind of book. And because the book is so kinda lonely and melancholy, I’m kinda happy that it wasn’t too long 😀

      Like

  1. Samantha @ Book Minx says:

    I like the sound of this one. Especially that it captures what it’s like to travel alone in a foreign country. I’ll have to check it out when it’s released this year. I love that cover too. The navy, yellow and grays work together really well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      The cover is beautiful! It was what drew me to the book! I really liked the tone of the book too. It’s set in the middle of winter in a quiet English town. And yeah it really captured what it’s like to travel by yourself during winter, especially in a country where you don’t speak the language.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Lydia Tewkesbury says:

    I really like the sound of this one. I’m really into books that have a bit of a mystery element lately.

    I’ve been to Haworth. It’s really great. The Bronte house is such an interesting place to visit. They have one of – I think – Charlotte’s dresses. It reinforces my belief that all 19th century people were tiny.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jenna @ Reading with Jenna says:

      I think the dress was mentioned in the book too! There’s a visit to the Bronte house early on in the book and it was fascinating to read about! I think you might be disappointed with the ‘mystery’ in this one. It’s less about the mystery and more about Yuki coming to terms with everything. It’s like an adult ‘coming of age’ story, really.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Summer @ Xingsings says:

    The premise sounds interesting but I don’t think it’s my type of book, but thanks for the honest review. Unlike, Yuki I do have an appreciation for the Bronte sisters books. Jane Eyre was my first classic in high school and I loved it so much. Wuthering Heights was meh/infuriating but had it’s own merits, I guess. And I really want to read The Tenant of Windfall Hall this year. I’ve never read that one!

    And doens’t Yuki mean snow in Japanese (lol, things I learn from anime…)?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. noteablepad says:

    I’ve just finished reading this, 🙂 My favourite part was the ending- I felt that she had come to terms with it all, and that was so relieving.

    Like

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