Saturday, October 13, 2012

Japanese Literature Challenge Updates

 We're more than half way through the Japanese Literature Challenge 6 season and I haven't posted on anything yet. The challenge is hosted by Della Bellezza and I think I've participated in 5 of the 6 challenges. I hold this challenge as one of my favourites because it takes me into new worlds of literature that I would have never done before - and I enjoy it.

I originally posted my intentions for this challenge here, but it did not include this one - Murakami's 1Q84. It's HUGE by my standards (I'm not an avid reader and I've had a fear of books over 500 pages long). Still, I couldn't resist it when I was about to go on holidays to a remote tropical island.
Murakami has featured in all of my reading lists for the Japanese Literature Challenges, and again he doesn't disappoint. I'm only 2/3rds of the way through this one, but I'm definitely hooked, and again, being transported into a strange and bizarre world - one with two moons and little people.... I'll post more soon about it (hopefully when I finish it) - but here's a quote from another reviewer.

This is the real world, there is no doubt about that.
But in this world, there are two moons in the sky.
In this world, the fates of two people, Tengo and Aomame, are closely intertwined. They are each, in their own way, doing something very dangerous. And in this world, there seems no way to save them both.
Something extraordinary is starting.

and from another blogger who struggled in the beginning, but in the end loved the book - she comments on a characteristic of Murakami's writing:

The Fantastic. Interspersed with the seemingly mundane aspects of daily life are moments of magic and utterly bizarre surrealism. Again, Murakami succeeds in poking that chink in our armour, our Achilles heel – which is love of the supernatural, and the otherwordly. How else could readers bear to read page after page about Coca Cola, and The Beatles, and jazz cafes, and downtown Shibuya/Shinjuku (though in 1Q84 it’s more Janacek’s Sinfonietta and Remembrance of Things Lost/Past - i.e. the elusive Marcel Proust), and how to prepare the perfect grilled mackaron with grated daikon radish, and miso soup with tofu and littlenecks and green onions, and cucumber slices with wakame seaweed in vinegar.

So, while I'm working on finishing this epic, I've also found something else that interests me for this challenge - Alex Kerr's 'Lost Japan'. See this review.

Any other suggestions? preferably shorter books?


Meredith said...

It was long, and not one of my favorite Murakami novels, but at the end of the day a "bad" Murakami is better than the best pulp fiction. I think that I saw you sign up for his novel Norwegian Wood in November? I hope that you have time for that; it's good to get more Japanese novels under our belt for I, like you, appreciate the world this genre takes us to. Even if they are parallel. ;)

Tamara said...

Yes, Bellezza, I've signed up for Norwegian wood. I'm off today to see if I can order a copy.