Literary Fiction


We’re happy to support debut authors, including Clarissa Goenawan with Rainbirds.

by Clarissa Goenawan

Quick take

Set in Japan, Rainbirds is a quietly powerful novel about a young man searching for answers in the wake of his sister's murder.

Good to know

  • Heavy Read

  • Psychological

  • Cerebral

  • International

Why I love it

Part of being on the editorial team here at BOTM means that I read the opening chapters of literally dozens of books each month. When I come across a story that makes me slow down and not look up until I’ve read from cover to cover, I know I’ve found something special.

This happened to me with Rainbirds. The writing grabbed me immediately—it’s whispery and elegant. Even the chapter titles...


Ren Ishida has nearly completed his graduate degree at Keio University when he receives news of his sister’s violent death. Keiko was stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, failing to understand why she chose to turn her back on the family and Tokyo for this desolate place years ago.

But then Ren is offered Keiko’s...