At the End of the Matinee

At the End of the Matinee

3.9 (2,082 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author)  , Translated by 
3.9 (2,082 ratings by Goodreads)
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Bestselling author Keiichiro Hirano offers a timeless ode to love's fragility and its resilience in this delicate, award-winning novel.

Classical guitarist Satoshi Makino has toured the world and is at the height of his career when he first lays eyes on journalist Yoko Komine. Their bond forms instantly.

Upon their first meeting, after Makino's concert in Tokyo, they begin a conversation that will go on for years, with long spells of silence broken by powerful moments of connection. She's drawn by Makino's tender music and his sensitivity, and he is intrigued by Yoko's refinement and intellect. But neither knows enough about love to see it blooming nor has the confidence to make the first move. Will their connection endure, weaving them back together like instruments in a symphony, or will fate lead them apart?

Blending the harmonies of Kazuo Ishiguro's Nocturnes and the sensuality of Ian McEwan's Enduring Love, At the End of the Matinee is an enchanting and thought-provoking love story.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 316 pages
  • 139.7 x 210.82 x 20.32mm | 317.51g
  • Amazoncrossing
  • Seattle, United States
  • English
  • 1542005183
  • 9781542005180
  • 162,723

Review quote

Praise for At the End of the Matinee

"A love story with a classic trajectory: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds girl...At the End of the Matinee, though, is distinguished by the toniness of its particular boy and girl." -The New York Times

"Yet what sets this book apart is how Hirano painstakingly renders the backdrop of their story, providing readers with a detailed view of politics, culture, and economics at the start of the 21st century...Reading At the End of the Matinee feels like being transported back to a time and place that illuminates the present. The struggles faced by the lovers-Satoshi Makino, a multilingual journalist, and Yoko Komine, a renowned classical guitarist-become an allegorical investigation into humanity's search for completeness against a constant stream of setbacks and pain...In the same vein, the novel is also a study in how our own perceptions of the past frequently change and therefore alter our futures, and this romance, seemingly about two individuals, becomes a love letter to humanity on the glorious possibilities that are still to come, in the evenings of our lives, despite our many sufferings." -The Japan Times

"A major bestseller in Japan already turned into a feature film, this is Hirano's second anglophoned export, greatly benefiting from Carpenter's impeccable translation that ensures a leisurely, against-so-many-odds romance for globally aware audiences." -Booklist

"At the End of the Matinee, Japanese author Keiichiro Hirano's new novel, depicts a torturous and suspenseful journey of two people in love whose lives bisect at the exact moment they are prepared to unite. It's like two trains passing, each going in opposite directions." -Authorlink

"Deftly translated into English by Juliet Winters Carpenter, At the End of the Matinee by Japanese author Keiichiro Hirano is an extraordinary and compelling read throughout. Destined to be acknowledged as a literary classic, At the End of the Matinee is an especially and unreservedly recommended addition to community, college, and university library Cultural Heritage, Family Life, and Contemporary Literary Fiction collections." -Midwest Book Review

"Like the luminous personalities in Hirano's books, no culture is one thing, no language ever holds still, and no story cannot travel across waves and landscapes of interpretation, spinning and turning in dividual ways that depend on your perception as the reader." -Publishing Perspectives

"The powerful backdrop of this romantic tale is marked by worldwide historic events of the late 2000s and early 2010s, including the Iraq war, refugee issues, the financial crisis, and the Great East Japan earthquake...At the End of the Matinee is a sophisticated and elegant reflection on the connections between love and art, passion and music, and the source of creative inspiration." -Brooklyn Digest

"The literary and social merit of At the End of the Matinee emanates from how 'internationalist' the book is at its core. Hirano moves away from the Sinocentrism featured in many classical Japanese novels. Instead, Hirano's multiracial and multicultural characters exist in a world far greater than their respective home countries. Women characters such as Yoko are also depicted as complex, independent, and intrinsically talented." -Asia Media International

Praise for A Man

"Hirano's English-language debut is a shape-shifting psychological thriller...As back-alley gritty and entertaining as a Raymond Chandler novel, the book asks what it means to be 'you' and suggests that the answer means nothing at all. Hirano's stylish, suspenseful noir should earn him a stateside audience." -Publishers Weekly

"Keiichiro Hirano's A Man has all the trappings of a gripping detective story: a bereaved wife, a dead man whose name belongs to someone else, mysterious coded letters, a lawyer intent on uncovering the truth. Together with a willfully understated title, however, these features belie a deeply thoughtful novel whose mystery premise gives way to an examination of the most profound questions of identity and artistic creation. In a work so rooted in Japanese cultural history, the questions posed by the author become distinctly literary, moving ultimately to address the very practice of novel writing." -The Arts Desk

"A riveting examination of desire and identity, A Man patiently unpicks the nature of unfulfilled aspirations. Keiichiro Hirano has written a multilayered tale of human reinvention, at once eminently readable and deeply moving." -Tash Aw, author of The Harmony Silk Factory and Five Star Billionaire

"There is no doubt that Keiichiro Hirano is an author with an extremely pioneering and modern spirit. His works have opened up a very imaginative space in analyzing and exploring the spiritual world of humanity." -Sheng Keyi, author of Northern Girls and Death Fugue

Praise for Keiichiro Hirano

"Hirano has continued to grapple with new themes ever since his debut. In this work, he has arrived at the primal question of what validates human existence." -Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police
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About Keiichiro Hirano

Keiichiro Hirano is an award-winning and bestselling novelist whose debut novel, The Eclipse, won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 1998, when he was a twenty-three-year-old university student. A cultural envoy to Paris appointed by Japan's Ministry of Cultural Affairs, Hirano has lectured throughout Europe. Widely read in France, China, Korea, Taiwan, Italy, and Egypt, Hirano's novels include the Watanabe Junichi Literary Prize-winning novel At the End of the Matinee-a runaway bestseller in Japan-and the critically acclaimed and Yomiuri Prize for Literature-winning A Man. His short fiction has appeared in the Columbia Anthology of Modern Japanese Literature. For more information, visit and follow Hirano on Twitter at @hiranok_en.
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Rating details

2,082 ratings
3.9 out of 5 stars
5 34% (699)
4 35% (732)
3 21% (447)
2 8% (161)
1 2% (43)
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