June 01, 2019

Book Review The Dark Room by Junnosuke Yoshiyuki

Book Review The Dark Room by Junnosuke Yoshiyuki

A man who has had a carefree life as a writer reflects deeply on his life after the death of his wife Keiko after a car accident cut short their marriage. He has had a string of women in his life since but none can fill the gap. 

Set in post-world war II Tokyo we get insights to the man’s life as a writer, his daily rituals, work briefs and his relationships with bosses and women. 

A friend Tsunoki approaches him and asks him to consider a manuscript about a diary of his encounters with women, he tries to reject the offer but slowly accepts. 

This book it seems is that manuscript and we gain details of his relationships with inn girls, Takako, Natsue and Maki who all have a place in his life but who he never invites home.

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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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