May 01, 2019

Book Review: The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura

Book Review: The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura

Review by Peter Hanami

Translated from the Japanese by:

Allison Markin Powell

2015, Soho Press. New York, NY, USA.

Pages: 198

ISBN: 978-1616957681

A university student in Tokyo, Japan, finds a dead body by the river one evening and next the body he discovered a a handgun. Instead of reporting it to police, he instead being fascinated by the "gun" picked it up and took it home to his apartment.

Over time he becomes gradually more and more obsessed with the gun which changes his moods, behaviours and actions in his daily life.

As guns are so rare , restricted and banned in Japanese culture this adds to his desire to have and keep such an object. The illegal nature of such an object fills a gap in his psyche.

This special attraction to the weapon leads the student to work through a range of emotions, as its power gets stronger and stronger, gradually taking over his mind, body and life. What will he do? Fire the weapon? Kill someone or just hand it in to police so they can solve a crime?

A wonderfully focused novel that takes the reader on an obsessive journey. If you are new to Nakamura's work try some of his early works as well!.

Review - Copyright. 2018. Peter Hanami. 
All Rights Reserved.

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April 01, 2019

Book Review: Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

Book Review: Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

A young Japanese woman in her early twenties has a casual relationship with a middle aged Japanese salaryman and becomes pregnant, against the urging of her family. She tries to raise the child herself as a single mother at home but soon finds out the hard way the impossible and unbalanced situation she finds her self in. Humble she refuses to contact the father for help and instead knuckles down and gets a part time job in a restaurant to pay for private baby sitting until it drains her savings. Still living at home she ignores the scorn of her mother, her brothers stares and the violence of a drunk unemployed father. 

Her son Akira develops a hernia and the cost of the operation forces her to look for more stable work after having been forced to resign from her restaurant job (as she was bullied by the manager and the staff). She discovers a job as a gardener at a private company and after convincing the owners to take a woman as an employee, she joins and meets Kambayashi a fellow employee who fascinates her as he has a child with down syndrome. 

The friendship blooms but she wants more but finds herself visiting Kawano an old friend from the coffee shop she frequented as a high school student. 

A tough love novel that reveals the difficulties of single mothers in Japan and the obstacles they face.

Book Review: Woman Running in the Mountains by Yuko Tsushima

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March 03, 2019

Book Review: Confessions of Love by Uno Chiyo

Book Review: Confessions of Love by Uno Chiyo

Author: Uno Chiyo

Translated by: Phyllis Birnbaum

Publisher: Charles Tuttle Tokyo, 1990

ISBN: 0-8048-1651-4

Pages: 157 


Such places are probably no longer permitted to operate but back then there was a restaurant next to Shimbashi Station called the Yuyutei, there were several small rooms each with two chairs. Once the curtain was drawn in those rooms, even a person passing outside could’nt make out who was within. Men would go there with women and those couples would spend the time talking to each other in whispers” p33

A very humourous story about an intimate romantic history apparently based on the life of the artist Togo Seiji who is called Yuasa Joji in the novel. A kind of chronicle of life in Tokyo in the 1920’s where weak men who were irresistible to women entered relationships.

 “ I tried to sound irritated but finally let the fury stay locked up in my heart” p42

Book Review: Confessions of Love by Uno Chiyo

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