Yasutaka Tsutsui (1934, Osaka) is considered one of the leading writers of science fiction in the Japanese language. He has received numerous awards and has several well regarded novels including Hell and Paprika. I have previously posted on one of his short stories "The Dabba Dabba Tree" which is also a fascinating work of science fiction.
The Girl Who Leapt Through Time centers on a school girl who has somehow acquired the ability to time travel, over a limited range of a few days. The way it starts Kazuko is in the science lab at school and she smells something that reminds her of lavender. Shortly after that she faints. Strange events begin to transpire around her including an earthquake where a friend's house is burnt and a car accident in which she would have surely been killed had she not transported back in time just before the impact. When she tries to tell people what is happening no one believes her at first, and she does not really have faith in her own perception of her experience. Her science teacher deduces she has somehow developed the ability to time travel. Of course the primary question of this very interesting novel is how did this happen and why did it happen particularly to her.
I thought the novel was an interesting character study and account of the life of school children in Japan in the 1960s at this point. It became totally fascinating when the story of how she came to be able to time travel is skillfully revealed to us by Tsutsui. I do not want to spoil this portion of the novel but it involves one of the best (and most optimistic) accounts of what life on earth will be like in the 27th century.
I totally enjoyed The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. There is a second shorter work The Stuff That Nightmares Are Made Of also by Yasutaka Tsutsui included in the same volume. I will be posting on it also soon.
In the interests of full disclosure I was provided a free copy of the is book. The publisher, Alma Books, has a very interesting and quite diversified catalog.
This is my forth year to participate in Dolce Bellezza's Japanese Literature Challenge. There are lots of great reading suggestions on her web page and among the many reviews that will be done by participants.