Emma's Reviews > Rashomon Gate

Rashomon Gate by I.J. Parker
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's review
Apr 01, 2011

did not like it
Read in March, 2011

For those of you who also follow my father on Goodreads, you may have noticed a slight change in his reading in recent months. Well, now you need to be prepared for a change in mine as we have undertaken the great Hamlett book swap! This only amounts to each of us giving the other five books to read but is the result of a long-standing difference of opinion as to what constitutes a good read. So, I introduced him to Paul Auster, Cormac Macarthy's 'The Road', a novel about superstring theory and all sorts of other wonderfulness (hardly any of which he liked). In return, I have been given science fiction, alternate realities and 'historical' fiction to enjoy. And this - detective fiction set in 11th century Japan - is the first.

Papa - I love you. This book - I didn't like.

Aside from the rubbish plot - which tried to make up for its lack of depth by ever-increasing numbers of threads, none of them interesting - about which I couldn't have given two hoots, there was clunky use of language, inconsistency in the narrative and a ridiculous recurring tic in the central character (the pulling of an earlobe) which was unnecessary, distracting and just plain weird.

If you want to read a book set in Japan, read Murakami. If you want to read detective fiction, read PD James. Don't waste your time on this.

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message 1: by Mieczyslaw (last edited Apr 02, 2011 04:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk I'm surprised at you Emma - I thought you'd be more open-minded.
If I want to read a book about Japan then the last person I would read is Murakami! He's heavily influenced by post-modern Western literature and lifestyle. If I want to enjoy a detective story set in Early Mediaeval Japan then Parker (rather than PD James) would be a fair choice. As for your rating of one star - well that is very harsh and goes against the general trend of most people who've read the book (on Goodreads and All Readers.com).
A reviewer for the New York Times wrote “You couldn’t ask for a more gracious introduction to the exotic world of Imperial Japan than the stately historical novels of I. J. Parker,” and other critics have agreed. In Publishers Weekly a contributor noted, “Parker gives her protagonist an emotional depth that raises her to the front rank of contemporary historical writers.” whilst another writer says “(Parker) deftly combines an action-packed plot with convincing period detail to bring 11th-century Japan to life.”
Parker herself is highly rated by her peers, having been the winner of Private Eye Writers of America Shamus Award for Best P.I. Short Story in 2000, and sets her stories in ancient Japan due to her professional interest in Japanese literature of the era.
"Rashomon Gate" is a good, entertaining read that you appear to have missed out on.

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