Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa

Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa

A new and enticing voice in fiction draws readers through the streets of Paris and New York on an intricate adventure. It’s twisting, contemplative, playful and darkly entertaining.

What writer Benjamin Constable needs is a real-life adventure wilder than his rampant imagination. And who better to shake up his comfortable Englishman-in-Paris routine than the enigmatic Tomomi “Butterfly” Ishikawa, who has just sent a cryptic suicide note?

She’s planted a slew of clues—in the pages of her journal, on the hard drive of her computer, tucked away in public places, under flowerpots, and behind statues. Heartbroken, confused, and accompanied by an imaginary cat, Ben embarks upon a scavenger hunt leading to charming and unexpected spaces, from the hidden alleys of Paris to the cobblestone streets of New York City.

But Butterfly’s posthumous messages are surprisingly well informed for the words of a dead person, and they’re full of confessions of a past darkened by insanity, betrayal, and murder. The treasures Ben is unearthing are installments of a gruesome memoir. Now he must draw a clear line between the real and surreal if he is to save himself, Butterfly, and what remains of their crazy and amazing friendship.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451667264 | 
  • June 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Ben Constable and Tomomi Ishikawa are friends. They meet for drinks, late-night cigarettes, and witty, imaginative and often surreal conversation. But Ben’s life is turned upside down when he receives what seems to be a suicide note from Tomomi Ishikawa. Not only does the note announce her death, but it invites Ben on an extraordinary treasure hunt that takes him through the streets of Paris and New York City. There are clues and hidden treasures that gradually reveal aspects of Tomomi Ishikawa that Ben did not know. They also appear to disclose a startling revelation: Tomomi Ishikawa is a murderer. Combining cleverly funny dialogue with quirky, enigmatic characters and a fantastic premise that will leave readers guessing, Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa will undoubtedly resonate long after the last page is finished.  

Topics & Questions for Discussion 

1. The story opens with Ben and Tomomi Ishikawa imagining what Ben’s book will be about. The use of imagination is a key element for th see more

About the Author

Benjamin Constable
Courtesy of the author

Benjamin Constable

Benjamin Constable was born in Bristol and grew up mostly in Derby. He lives in Paris where he writes fiction and teaches English. Three Lives of Tomomi Ishikawa is his first novel.