Keigo Higashino: Miracles of the Namiya General Store

Keigo Higashino is one of the most prolific Japanese authors who is known for his crime and thriller fictions. Born in a middle to low income family, he studied engineering at Osaka Prefecture University; however, later on realized that his true calling was being a writer. After winning his first prize, he quit his engineering job and worked as a full-time writer in Tokyo. According to his award and nominations, his most well-received books are “The Devotion of Suspect X” and Shinzanmono (The Newcomer). His books have been translated in many different languages, including English, Korean and Chinese.

Unlike his other crime and thriller fictions, Miracle of the Namiya General Store is a mystery novel that happens in magical world. In the story, Namiya General Store is not just a convenient store but also a place where people drop in mails about their problems.

The short synopsis of The Miracles of the Namiya General Store is, according to publisher’s weekly, “a sparkling tale about opening up to others’ troubles”.

The story begins with a trio of delinquent running into an abandoned convenient store for shelter. While they are settling down, they saw a letter slides through the store’s mail slot. Out of curiosity, the trio opened a letter written by an unnamed woman asking for advice from decades ago. Little did they know; they have opened a door that connects the past and present when they decided to walk into the General Store on this very specific day.

Through the course of the story, we can slowly connect the dots and find out the relation between the previous General Store owner, the mischievous trio and all the people who look for advice. Keigo Nigashino use one main plot to link up all the short stories; some are heartwarming, nostalgia-fueled and others are heart-breaking.

Mesmerizing, readers falls head over heels in love with this book. The Miracles of the Namiya General Store sold over ten million copies and have won the prestigious 7th Chuokoron Prize in Japan. Yet this only one of the awards that Higashino received.

On the GoodReads book review section, a Korean reader commented that the book is going to be her “lifelong” book, which she will reread it all times. She said the mystery in the storyline captivates her. It was interesting to untangle the truth with the three mischievous in the story.

The book was adopted by two filmmakers and created into two films; one in Chinese and the other in Japanese. The first film was disappointing when most of the audience was confused about the storyline and could not get really emotionally attached to the plot. While the second one, the audience applaud for the nostalgic-fueled scenes and the emotional connection that the actors portrayed. The movie rated 86% on rotten tomatoes, which is a very decent score.

However, on South China Morning Post’s film review of The Miracles of the Namiya General Store, James Marsh rated the movie only 2.5 out of 5 stars because “some of the film’s emotional effectiveness is lost in tangle of timelines, but those familiar with the source may find their way to the film’s admittedly super-sized heart.”

Higashino’s Detective Galileo series was also adopted into a TV series. The story is about Manabu Yukawa who is an eccentric physicist who helps out his old schoolmate to disclose mysteries that are seemingly unnatural and impossible to solve.