Previous Posts: Book Reviews: May 2007

Book Reviews: Waves: Two Short Novels (Masuji Ibuse)

Masuji Ibuse is not one of Japan’s better known writers in the West, which is another way of saying that a country’s greatest literary treasures often remain too long undiscovered and underappreciated from the outside. He was responsible for one...



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Masuji Ibuse is not one of Japan’s better known writers in the West, which is another way of saying that a country’s greatest literary treasures often remain too long undiscovered and underappreciated from the outside. He was responsible for one novel which has achieved some modicum of domestic fame, Black Rain — no, not the source for the wretched Michael Douglas thriller, but it did inspire a movie of the same name courtesy of Shohei Imamura — an angry indictment not only of the use of atomic weapons but Japan’s largely unspoken stigmatization of its victims for decades after the fact. I read Black Rain shortly after seeing the film, and what struck me most about it was the same thing that makes the two novellas that comprise Waves stand out: Ibuse’s amazing command of life’s detail and local color. He knew more about Japan in particular than many people would ever forget, and that was something I wanted to catalyze a bit of if I could. Read more


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Book Reviews: Dark Spring (Unica Zürn)

One of the things that always troubled me about the fascination with madness and the intertwined eroticism and death that always pervaded the Romantic and Surrealistic sensibilities was that they were almost always expressed by people who seemed to be...



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One of the things that always troubled me about the fascination with madness and the intertwined eroticism and death that always pervaded the Romantic and Surrealistic sensibilities was that they were almost always expressed by people who seemed to be celebrating those things without having known their cost in personal suffering. I’m not trying to apply some kind of politically-correct standard to the appreciation of such works, just pointing out that while some were idolizing the dark underbelly of the human psyche, others were helpless to it, and found nothing remotely romantic about the experience. Read more


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Book Reviews category from May 2007.

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