Listening Length: 10 Hours
Published: March 6th 2018
Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister Keiko’s sudden death. She was viciously stabbed one rainy night on her way home, and there are no leads. Ren heads to Akakawa to conclude his sister’s affairs, still failing to understand why she chose to abandon the family and Tokyo for this desolate town years ago.
But Ren soon finds himself picking up where Keiko left off, accepting both her teaching position at a local cram school and the bizarre arrangement of free lodging at a wealthy politician’s mansion in exchange for reading to the man’s catatonic wife. As he comes to know the figures in Akakawa, from the enigmatic politician to his fellow teachers and a rebellious, alluring student named Rio, Ren delves into his shared childhood with Keiko and what followed, trying to piece together what happened the night of her death.
Haunted in his dreams by a young girl who is desperately trying to tell him something, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.
What I thought I was going to get with Rainbirds was not what I got. While I knew the storyline was going to focus on Ren Ishida, I thought it would stick closely to solving the mystery of his sister Keiko. What I got was more of Ren falling into Keikos life. It appears he was picking up the pieces the she left behind.
I did enjoy getting to know Ren and watching his transformation from Student to teacher at a cram school in the small town of Akakawa. Akakawa itself became a lively place that was easily able to be transported too. I loved the coming of characters and seeing just how his world had twisted from his to hers.
The people who had once been a part of Keiko life have seemed to embrace Ren as if he has been there all along. Slowly bits and pieces unravel revealing the mysterious death. I did think that touch was gracefully executed.
There was even a point when I went to run and grab milk from the store and upon returning home, my husband asked me why I was just sitting in my car for five minutes. I simply stated that it got to a really good part. Which was one of the twist I did not see coming. But after it was revealed I was like, WOW…It all makes sense now.
David Shih narrated Rainbirds and it was just remarkable. He had the ability to smoothly transform his voice between characters male and female with in one scene. I thoroughly enjoyed it and personally would listen to more narrations done by him.