When going on vacation, I always like to read books from the country I am about to visit. This year I’m heading to Japan, so I will be reading a lot of Murakami to start with. Of course there’s a lot more worth reading, so let me share my Japan-to-read list with all of you!
De Kat (The Guest Cat) – Takashi Hiraide
“Having played to her heart’s content, Chibi would come inside and rest for a while. When she began to sleep on the sofa–like a talisman curled gently in the shape of a comma and dug up from a prehistoric archaeological site–a deep sense of happiness arrived, as if the house itself had dreamed this scene.”
I read this book in Dutch, being given a review copy by Uitgeverij Meulenhoff (thank you again!). It’s a small but beautiful book about a Japanese couple who find a cat in their house one day. They grow to love this creature and start to treat the cat like it’s their own. The book is full of Japanese wisdom and beautiful sentences. This book is great if you want to learn more about the Japanese way of life and see how an ordinary couple goes through their lives day by day.
Coin Locker Babies – Ryu Murakami
“There in that pool stained with green blood, he had learned two things: one was that all the pain stopped when you stopped fighting death; and the other was that as long as you could still hear your heart beating, you had to keep fighting back.”
They call Ryu Murakami the enfant terrible of Japanese literature, so this must be one hell of a book. It’s about two abandoned boys locked in a train station locker heading for life full of craziness and I really look forward to reading it.
Kitchen – Banana Yoshimoto
“I realized that the world did not exist for my benefit. It followed that the ratio of pleasant and unpleasant things around me would not change. It wasn’t up to me. It was clear that the best thing to do was to adopt a sort of muddled cheerfulness.”
This book was published when Banana (unfortunately not her real name, she’s called Mahoko) was only 24 years old. It’s supposed to give a very realistic view into the life of a young Japanese woman in the Nineties. The story is about two young woman dealing with loss and because of that, forming a view on life and dead. Not really a “fun” read but it promises to be a beautiful book.
A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro
“Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing; often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers, and no doubt this applies to certain of the recollections I have gathered here. ”
A somewhat older novel from Kazuo Ishiguro who has recently released his latest novel, The Buried Giant. The book is about a Japanese women mourning her daughter who killed herself. She relives her past, building up her life after the war in Nagasaki. I really like Kazuo Ishiguro’s work so I will definitely give this one a try before heading for Japan!
Written by Charlotte de Heer. Book Club sister #1 with way too little time on her hands.