Category Archives: Japanese Literature

Something a bit out of the ordinary: ‘Convenience Store Woman’ by Sayaka Murata

The first thing I loved about this book was the title.  After so many Girl novels recently (whether they have tattoos, kick dangerous things, travel on trains or are simply Gone), it was incredibly refreshing to find a book that … Continue reading

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Secrets and surprises: ‘The Key’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

From Adrian Mole to Zamyatin’s ‘We’, from ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ to Bridget Jones, very few things beat a good diary entry novel.  And if a single diary wasn’t powerful enough, the run-away success of Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’ shows how much … Continue reading

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You can’t have too many cat books: ‘The Guest Cat’ by Takashi Hiraide

I had many reasons for being tempted by ‘The Guest Cat.’  Besides from the obvious (I like reading; I like cats) there were the arresting cover, the fact that I’d been planning on reading more Japanese literature this year and the peer … Continue reading

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Long before Youtube kitten videos: ‘I am a Cat’ by Natsume Sōseki (1905-6)

It can be hard to think outside the box when you’re as devoted to book lists and recommendations as I am.  Still, sometimes I think I manage to read something a bit more unexpected.  Take this autumn for example, when, … Continue reading

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Two Short Japanese Books (and Food, Lots of Food): ‘Kitchen’ by Banana Yoshimoto (1987) and ‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ by Hiromi Kawakami (2012)

I don’t want to go for glib connections within foreign fiction, but I’ve been really struck by two books that were placed high-up on my 2016 reading pile. Yoshimoto’s ‘Kitchen’ and Kawakami’s ‘Strange Weather in Tokyo’ both left me with … Continue reading

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Transcending cultures? ‘Quicksand’ by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (1928-30)

‘Quicksand’ is on my bookshelf because years ago I read Tanizaki’s ‘Some Prefer Nettles’ and decided it was the best book ever.  Set in 1920s Japan, it was evocative, exotic and wonderfully baffling.  Sadly, it was also a library book … Continue reading

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An insomniac whirlwind of a novel: ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’, by Haruki Murakami (1982)

I’m starting to see how people get hooked on Murakami.  I picked ‘After Dark‘ for my first foray into his oeuvre because it was the shortest book in the library.  This being Murakami, after finishing I immediately had to run … Continue reading

Posted in Haruki Murakami, Japanese Literature, Reading in translation | Tagged , , | 12 Comments