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.