January 2010

Now You're One of Us


This is one of those books that you will love or hate. Now You're One of Us is a slow, suspenseful story that revolves around Japanese culture. In a way, I think it is the various cultural elements that add to the plot and move it forward and thus, you have to keep it in mind, in order to enjoy the novel.

The story is about a woman, Noriko, who becomes part of a large family when she marries one of their sons, Kazuhito. As she gets used to the quirky ways of living with more folks in one house, she starts worrying about them. More specifically, she thinks that they have dark secrets and that no one is what they seem.

Japanese SF Authors to Keep in Mind


When publishers consider translating foreign works into English, the genre they almost always land on is drama. Or historical fiction. Fine, in a lot of cases there are other genres that ventured into this arena but I find that these books are generally so popular in their native land (or have won an award or had a movie adaptation to their name) that it warrants the translation. Am I wrong is assuming that's how they pick books? Point is, if you like reading SF books, it might be a bit annoying that is a lack of foreign stories in this genre. Especially ones from Japan. I'm fascinated by the concepts presented in science fiction and fantasy-based manga and therefore, am eager to read more novels in those genres as well. So far, trying to find authors or specific books have not been fruitful. I am keeping a list of authors in mind though.

In Miso Soup


This book must be one of the better known Japanese novels: since its publication a few years ago, In Miso Soup by Ryu Murakami has been gathering fans. In fact, given that the author's previous book was an award-winner, it is hardly surprising that this one was so eagerly anticipated. However, I must say that this book might not be everyone's favorite read; the novel has darker undertones, one that reminds me of Paul Auster's works, where readers catch a glimpse of humanity's nasty side.

Shame in Blood

 

If you are looking for a different view of Japan, i.e a deviation from the 'trendy weird' angle, check out this literary classic called Shame in Blood. Alright, some call it a classic, others do not. For the latter, this book was a constant reiteration of the same theme which in itself was outdated. More on that later; first, a synopsis of the book.

 

Shame in Blood is the story of an unlucky young man. Well, his bad luck is a matter of obsession for him and this thought influences his actions throughout his life. More specifically, he is ashamed because of his family and feels that this is a burden he must bear.