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Chorus Of Mushrooms

3.80  ·  Rating Details  ·  358 Ratings  ·  35 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,102)
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Mark
Apr 27, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it


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.
...more
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
...more
Ron Nie
Jan 25, 2015 Ron Nie rated it really liked it
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
...more
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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puppy
Jun 21, 2016 puppy rated it it was amazing
There's no point in trying to summarize something this beautiful except to say that I hope you read it.
sunny
Mar 29, 2016 sunny rated it it was amazing
An extraordinary and mythic tale of three generations of Japanese-Canadian women. The telling alternates loosely between the voice of the grandmother, Naoe, and the granddaughter, Murasaki, while each tells and retells the stories that help them make sense of their lives. There's so much rich writing, sensual details, and emotion to luxuriate in. I can't decide what I liked best about it. I related to a lot in here but especially enjoyed the small moments the women shared during intimate caretak ...more
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
Derek Newman-Stille
Chorus of Mushrooms is a beautifully written, poetic book that revels in the wonder and majesty of language while being fundamentally about silences. Hiromi Goto examines the multiplicity of silencings that occur in our world – the racialised, ageist, sexist structures that are created in our society to de-voice certain people. Goto examines the way that language shapes and creates us and the way that it can also be used to contain and control us.

Chorus of Mushrooms is about an elderly woman wh
...more
Zoe Brooks
Aug 19, 2014 Zoe Brooks rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-realism
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
Chaneli
Jan 11, 2016 Chaneli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Wow! i love this so much! The discussion on language, living between two cultures, immigrating to a new land and having to assimilate, the story of these three generations of women and all intertwined with storytelling and food, oh the food! So many words of wisdom and I just love them so much.
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
Jemeima
Feb 11, 2016 Jemeima rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Juliana
Jul 13, 2015 Juliana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4,5 stars
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
...more
E. Adeline
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
...more
Vzenari
Nov 16, 2014 Vzenari rated it really liked it
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
May 06, 2014 Emi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2014 Daniel rated it it was amazing
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.
Kristy
Apr 02, 2016 Kristy rated it liked it
First of all, I had to read this book for class - I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise.
Although it's nothing I'd usually read it definitely was interesting. The switching narrators and inner dialogues can be quite confusing imo, but with this book it's less about the actual story than the context.

This novel makes you question the truth, not only this narrative but also in regard to your own everyday situations. If this doesn't put you off, and if you like reading about intercultural problems a
...more
Susan
a crazy mix and really enjoyed it - especially the language and "mukashi banashi."
Erin-brooke Kirsh
Sep 12, 2014 Erin-brooke Kirsh rated it really liked it
Three and a half :)
Hannah
May 17, 2015 Hannah rated it really liked it
a masterpiece of nonlinear time & storytelling. also i love when old people are fully developed characters.
Frances
Sep 29, 2014 Frances rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Everyone should read it.
Giulia
Nov 15, 2015 Giulia rated it really liked it
After reading and studying a lot of autoctone japanese literature this book is really fresh, original and meaningful. I love the mix of west and east, the difficulties of immigrants children struggling to know their nature. Very interesting and fascinating.
Carolyn
An interesting take on Japanese-Canadian identity, the sterotype of the "old woman", and the mystery of desire versus truth. Chorus of Mushrooms pushes boundaries of racism, sexism, and ageism and establishes a narrative that celebrates sexual freedom, different ways of representing and embracing or letting go of racial identity, and language, both Japanese and English.
Caly
Jul 02, 2016 Caly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
One word - Odd. A very strange story about the lives of 3 generations of Chinese women living in Canada. At times I really liked it, at other points I was too confused to totally understand it. One that takes some thinking about, but for me that is not a bad thing in a book.
Jessie
Jul 11, 2016 Jessie rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but it never fully came together for me. I wish there was more of the grandmother's story. And it would have been helpful for me to know some Japanese.
Alexa
Feb 02, 2012 Alexa rated it really liked it  ·  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
Dec 06, 2009 Pamk rated it liked it
Some interesting characterizations that showed the cultural differences between three generations of Japanese Canadian women, but just an overall 'eh' for me...
Elizabeth
Mar 08, 2009 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
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.
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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
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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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