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Chorus Of Mushrooms

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  286 ratings  ·  23 reviews
A novel which follows the lives of three generations of Japanese-Canadian women, blending myth, folk legend and fiction.
Unknown Binding
Published April 10th 1997 by NeWest Press (first published October 16th 1993)
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Mircalla64 (free Liu Xiaobo)
coro di donne


“Raccontaci dei piedi” dicono. “Tua nonna doveva fasciarsi i piedi, da piccola?” Veramente in Giappone non c’è mai stata questa usanza, ma qualcuno continua a diffondere il mito. Sempre la stessa storia. I piedi fasciati. La deformità. Il rituale dell’hari kari. Veramente sarebbe harakiri, ma lo chiamassero pure Cara Chiri o Cala Chili, per quel che mi importa. Non è per essere acidi. Ti invitano da qualche parte per parlare. Per tenere una conferenza. Su quello che sia. Tutti in gi
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Mark


Dear Hiromi Goto,

We read your novel, Chorus Of Mushrooms , for our Salon in beautiful Pomona, California.

There was seven of us ranging from our mid thirties to mid forties, who read your novel and discussed it out of the shear joy of both reading and community.

We drank Hitachiko Nest beer and munched on salted squid, we ate poutine and chased it with Crown Royal whiskey.

We talked about the immigrant experience from our own perspectives, we discussed what it meant to be mothers and daughters.
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Ron Nie
Truly stunning writing, and the most kickass phenomenal protagonist I've encountered in a looooong time (ever? maybe ever?). Her name is Naoe, she's a grandma, and she is a determined, sensual, kind, independent, strong badass. I really loved what this book did with age and sexuality, namely that it addressed it in legitimate fashion. Old people have desire, kids. Deal with it because Naoe is gonna get some.
Also of course I have to mention that Naoe's story is translated and retranslated by her
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Meghan Fidler
"Chorus of Mushrooms" is full of fantastic sensations, thoughts, and experiences. Focusing on Murasaki and Naoe, granddaughter and grandmother, the narrative "unfolds from the middle" with details of war, assimilation, forgetting, remembering, and age. By far, Naoe's character was my favorite, charming in ideology and delightful in humor (in the excerpt below, Keiko is Naoe's daughter, Murasaki's mother).

“It’s sadly unfortunate that I was too angry to enjoy sex when I had it. Too bitter, too p
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Wendy
I really enjoyed this book, but it made me wish I remembered more of the Japanese I learned, that one term in college, a million years ago. (Languages evaporate so quickly when not used. I was far from fluent, but I'm even further from it now.) I suppose I could have plugged the words into Google translate, but I wasn't near a computer when I was reading, so I didn't bother. I sounded it out instead, and pretended I understood. I think I understood the story, even without the added nuance of the ...more
Zoe Brooks
I am often asked how I find all the magic-realism books I have in my collection and which I review on my blog. Sometimes it is by recommendation, such as the inclusion in one of the magic-realism lists you find on the web, sometimes (if it is a new book) through Netgalley and Edelweis, but sometimes it is by luck, one might say magic. My husband and I are a great frequenters of second-hand and charity bookshops. In which case I usually work my way along the shelves with an alphabetical list of b ...more
Sian Jones
I could probably have done with a few more traditional signposts of plot and structure in this novel, but there's no denying the rich, sensual gorgeousness of the prose or the deftness with which the story mixes the real with the supremely magical. (Also, I recommend the 20th anniversary edition, with its excellent Afterward by Larissa Lai. As she describes the experience of teaching the novel since its original publication, she captures the shift in racial politics in academia and North America ...more
Karen
I loved this book the more I read it. It's beautifully lyrical. The protagonists are phenomenal, especially Naoe, the grandmother.

Some of my favourite parts:
"I could stand on my head and quote Shakespeare until I had a nosebleed, but to no avail, no one hears my language. So I sit and say the words and will, until the wind or I shall die. Someone, something must stand against this wind and I will. I am." (5)

"Funny how parents tell teaching stories yet they never bother to taste the words they u
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Emily Harring
I don't think I can properly put into words what I think about this novel until I re-read it.

Here's what I can say: Hiromi Goto has some of the most beautiful, languid, sensational writing. I felt everything written on the page. It was dense, layered, poetic. And I enjoyed how the three generations of women were portrayed in the novel; I felt for what the novel had to say about culture, about wanting to (or having to) adapt to a culture that isn't your own, and how that can affect the next gene
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Vzenari
This lyrical novel represents the lives of three generations of Japanese-Canadian women. Japanese folktales meld with southern Alberta folksiness and dusty winds. Food and language form lines of force that divide and bring together the Japanese and the Canadian. Allusions to Hiroshima, Mon Amour, pillow books and Tales of Genji share space with the Calgary Stampede.
Emi
Hiromi Goto has a truly amazing ability. Her main characters seem very unappealing at first. They are everything but what you would imagine a main character should be. They are never physically attractive and the way they behave may sometimes come across as rather disgusting. However, the longer you read Goto's novels, the more you like her characters. They are always complex and they always develop in a way that is well-paced and believable.

I could have given this book 5 stars. There are no fla
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Daniel
An overwhelming and tender novel which, through storytelling and journeying, seeks to make sense of the diaspora experienced by three generations of Japanese women in Canada.
Susan
a crazy mix and really enjoyed it - especially the language and "mukashi banashi."
Erin-brooke Kirsh
Three and a half :)
Hannah
a masterpiece of nonlinear time & storytelling. also i love when old people are fully developed characters.
Frances
Amazing. Everyone should read it.
Alexa
Feb 02, 2012 Alexa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alexa by: Dr. Grekul
I read this book in one of my university English classes. I found it quite interesting as we compared it to Margaret Laurence's, The Stone Angel. The two texts are very similar and I definitley recomend reading them in conjunction.
Pamk
Some interesting characterizations that showed the cultural differences between three generations of Japanese Canadian women, but just an overall 'eh' for me...
Elizabeth
So far, my favourite of the books from my postcolonial lit class. This book is weird and a little messed up but, in a lot of ways, works.
Kate Miller
wonderful story with some really outstanding writing about food!
Cheri
Captivating, lyrical language captures the outsider.
Val
Absolutely magical. Such a joy to read.
Brian
A very well-written book.
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Hiromi’s first novel, Chorus of Mushrooms (1994), received the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book in the Caribbean and Canada region and was co-winner of the Canada-Japan Book Award. Her short stories and poetry have been widely published in literary journals and anthologies. Her second novel, The Kappa Child (2001), was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Regional ...more
More about Hiromi Goto...
Half World (Half World, #1) The Kappa Child Darkest Light (Half World, #2) Hopeful Monsters The Water of Possibility (In the Same Boat)

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“I mutter and mutter and no one to listen. I speak my words in Japanese and my daughter will not hear them. The words that come from our ears, our mouths, they collide in the space between us.

"Obachan, please! I wish you would stop that. Is it too much to ask for some peace and quiet? You do this on purpose, don’t you? Don’t you! I just want some peace. Just stop! Please, just stop."

"Gomennasai. Waruine, Obachan wa. Solly. Solly."

Ha! Keiko, there is method in my madness. I could stand on my head and quote Shakespeare until I had a nosebleed, but to no avail, no one hears my language. So I sit and say the words and will, until the wind or I shall die. Someone, something must stand against this wind and I will. I am.”
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