Kevin's Reviews > The Stones Cry Out

The Stones Cry Out by Hikaru Okuizumi
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Jan 01, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012-reading, favorites
Read in January, 2012

Tsuyoshi Manase, the book's protagonist, is veteran of Japan's campaign on the island of Leyte, who is haunted by what he witnessed in the waning days of Japan's last-ditch effort to defend the island. While hiding from the enemy surrounded unimaginable suffering men of his unit who plagued by hunger, thirst, disease, without arms, and encircled by rotting corpses try vainly to muster the strength to die honorably in one last charge of the enemy. Manase is able to gleams some solace in the dying words of Lance Corporal, who in another lifetime was a geologist, that would impact the rest of his life. After the war Mansae runs s successful book store, marries, and has children. Still haunted by his memories of the war, Mansae turns to stone collecting which quickly turns into an all-encompassing obsession, often taking priority over his family obligations. When tradegy strikes Mansae's favorite son, a budding geologist himself, Mansae begins to lose grip of reality. His family implodes unable to deal with the tragic end of such a young boy; too emotionally weak Mansae himself begins to whether away leaving nothing, but tragedy in the wake of a once promising life.

Okuizumi seamlessly intertwines Manse's memories, reality, and hallucinations into one beautiful and harrowing narrative. The mix of reality and the hallucinations are so well done that by the end of this very short book the reader is left wondering if Manse's entire life is nothing more than an illusion of a dying man in a forgotten cave on island surrounded by the dying and the fear of the unknown. With all the symbolism and the twist and turns that Mansae and his family are put through it's a wonder how Okuizumi is able to keep a coherent story together, but he does and what story he tells. Told in a wonderfully sparse but poetic prose from beginning to end, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this a must read for those interested in Japanese literature.

The book is remarkable, I only hope that they decide to translate more of Okuizumi's work into English soon.
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