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The Bells of Old Tokyo

The Bells Of Old Tokyo: Meditations On Time And A City


Anna Sherman's The Bells of Old Tokyo is a beautiful and profound exploration of the history and culture of Tokyo and its residents that is a mix of memoir, cultural history, and journalism. The Bells of Old Tokyo is a remarkable literary debut by Anna Sherman that is an elegant and insightful tour of Tokyo and its residents, as well as a meditation on Japanese culture and society. The book is structured around Anna's search for the eight lost bells that once surrounded the city. These bells marked the city's neighborhoods and kept time for its inhabitants before the introduction of Western-style clocks. The bells are tangible vestiges of a much older Japan--one that believed in time as represented by animals and the zodiac, rather than minutes and hours, a circle rather than a forward line. Similarly, the book moves in and out of time as we are introduced to Tokyo residents past and present: An aristocrat who makes his way through Tokyo's sea of ashes after WWII's firebombs. A shrine priest who remembers Yukio Mishima praying before his infamous death. A scientist who has built the most accurate clock in the world, a clock that will not lose a second in five billion years. The head of the Tokugawa house, the family that used to rule Tokyo, reflecting on the destruction of his grandfathers' city ("A lost thing is lost. To chase it leads to darkness"). And woven throughout is Anna's deep friendship with the owner of a small, exquisite coffee shop who believes that if you make coffee just right, and allow people the time to enjoy it, they will return to their "true selves."Both a literary history and cultural appreciation, The Bells of Old Tokyo marks the arrival of a dazzling new writer as she presents an absorbing and alluring meditation on life in the guise of a tour through a city and its people.



  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
    • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
    • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Sold by: --
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Picador USA
  • ISBN-13: 9781250206404
  • ISBN: 1250206405
  • Publication Year: 2019
HPB pick - Available on August 13, 2019
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HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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