How Kyoto Breaks Your Heart

Florentyna Leow author


Publisher:The Emma Press

Published:23rd Feb '23


Available for immediate dispatch.

How Kyoto Breaks Your Heart cover

Florentyna Leow's debut essay collection tells the story of her life as a tour guide in Kyoto, backgrounded by the rumblings of a friendship cracking at the foundations.

An essay collection/memoir about a young woman moving to Kyoto and experiencing an intense friendship.20-something and uncertain about her future, Florentyna Leow is exhilarated when an old acquaintance offers her an opportunity for work and cohabitation in a little house in the hills of Kyoto. Florentyna begins a new job as a tour guide, taking tourists on elaborate and expensive trips around Kyoto's cultural hotspots. Amidst the busy tourist traps and overrun temples, Florentyna develops her own personal map of the city: a favourite smoky jazz kissa; a top-shelf katsuobushi loving cat; an elderly lady named Yamaguchi-san, who shares her sweets and gives Florentyna a Japanese name. Meanwhile, her relationship with her new companion develops an intensity as they live and work together. Their little kitchen, the epicenter of their shared life, overlooks a community garden dominated by a fruitful persimmon tree. Their relationship burns bright, but seasons change, the persimmon tree out back loses its fruit, and things grow strange between the two women.

"O would let Leow's writing take me anywhere, but in these pages Kyoto transpires to be a particularly meaningful and enchanted destination for her to transport her reader. Friendship, food, language, tour-guiding, and all the myriad kinds of love-whatever she's addressing in the moment, her fragrant, juice-filled prose is coated in a crispy-soft casing of wisdom, self awareness and compassion." - Polly Barton, author of Fifty Sounds; "This writing is so beautiful it makes you feel tipsy and warm like a sherry at Christmas." - Kathryn Williams, singer, songwriter and novelist (The Ormering Tide); "So atmospheric and transporting, I couldn’t wait to get back to it and keep reading." - Emily Itami, author of Fault Lines; "The book does not gush about Japan, which I appreciate, nor does it tear it down. She never holds back when it comes to her own emotions. But when it comes to the outside world in which she positions herself as an onlooker, she is generous, funny, blunt as she needs to be, mindful of where she stands. The persimmon tree. Just read how she writes about the persimmon tree. You will fall in love." - Yuki Tejima, @booknerdtokyo; "Leow's collection is a beautifully written exploration of friendship, making a city your home and heartbreak through food writing, travel, cultural and social explorations and elements of memoir. It should be too much for such a slim volume, but it works perfectly." - Sophie for Books, Burgers and Backpacks; "Leow has a way with words that carried me into each moment so evocatively that I devoured this short novel in one session: there is a lyricism to every description she delivers...The writing is beautiful, the language evocative and the experience of reading this one to remember. I definitely recommend getting hold of a copy" - Bookaholic Bex; "It took approximately one sentence for me to know this was going to be one of my favourite books of this year. Leow's storytelling is simply exquisite and I could envision the settings and moment so vividly in my mind that I barely wanted to put the book down to write this. It's a book that I want to both devour immediately but also savour slowly to try and appreciate the work Leow has put into it" - Rhi, @thewordslikedust

ISBN: 9781915628008

Dimensions: 198mm x 129mm x 8mm

Weight: unknown

152 pages