In his introduction, David Mitchell (one of the two translators, along with KA Yoshida, his wife) tells the story of this story. He and his wife have an autistic child, and they wanted to understand better his inner self. Hence, the subtitle — “The Inner Voice of a Thirteen-Year-Old Boy with Autism.” Higashida, an accomplished writer who makes amazing use of an alphabet grid, responds to 58 questions about autism and offers a few of his own stories and parables.

His inner voice is nothing short of astonishing. His responses, often little more than a page, are precise and clear. If you have anyone autistic in your life, I’d call this one required reading.

Kai and Sunny, familiar to those who know Mitchell’s work, provide outstanding illustrations here as well.