Book 33: Manazuru (Dec 29)

Posted on 04.01.2016

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33. Manazuru, Hiromi Kawakami, December 29
I took a stab at reading a female Japanese author. I have a few students who like to read, and a small amount of them are women (I don’t see so many women, sadly). So after someone tells me they’re not a fan of the way Murakami writes women, I usually ask for a recommendation from them for a good female Japanese author.

This was the first recommendation I got.

I think that since I’ve been living in Japan and learning about the culture, a lot of the parts that might otherwise be confusing made sense to me. There’s an ongoing thought in the main character’s mind about ‘taking down the nameplate’, and sports day at schools. These things were easy for me, since I talk about them often enough. But had I NOT been living or lived in Japan, they might not make much sense to me.

I’m not a huge fan of the book, sadly, and I really wanted to be. This is one of my student’s favourite book, and she recommended it and the author specifically. I think I probably should have seen it coming. The story is about a woman whose husband disappeared. I thought it might be more about her daily life and surviving in Tokyo while raising a growing teenager, but it’s more in line with the thoughts of someone who has been left, and how she’s dealing with it. There’s a supernatural element in the story as well, and I kept imagining more would come from that, or happen on that line, but it didn’t.

I’m not good with people who can’t get over break-ups, and that’s kind of how this read. Her husband disappeared, was not actually found, so she continues to wonder if he’s still alive somewhere, throughout the entire book. That’s more what this story is about, and how she handles those feelings.

On one hand, it describes the transience of time, life, thoughts and emotion well. On the other hand, it wasn’t really that interesting to read a book full of someone’s thoughts and feelings.

I’m an asshole. Get over it and get on with your life, woman!

The writing was good and easy to follow. I was just kind of bored with the story.

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