Celeste's Reviews > Fires on the Plain

Fires on the Plain by Shōhei Ōoka
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's review
Oct 24, 2009

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bookshelves: 2009
Read in October, 2009

I nabbed this book from the book room of the school. The cover artwork looked interesting, and it's become something of a goal of mine to go through and read as many of the books in there that I can.

First off, it's a translation. I don't like that. I'm one of those purist folks who think that literature is best taken in it's native tongue if at all possible. Alas, that would cut down on my reading of many great books, so I have to go against that principle of mine. But I feel that I don't connect with it as well. That probably happened here. The style was dry, and not being a Japanese literature buff, I couldn't say whether it stemmed from the translation, Japanese literature in general, or just that particular author.

And generally I enjoy a good war book, which is ironic in that I am largely a pscifist, so I was excited to read that some critic out that thought that this is "one of the great books about war in any literature." It was on par, but I was a bit confused by the heavy Christian influence and some of the ideas. There was quite a bit of the roaming-through-the-woods type of thing that brings to mind The Red Badge of Courage, but unlike Henry, the protagonist, Tamura, encounters much worse. I was pretty aghast at the cannibalism, as most are, and I think that author handled it well.

Overall, great writing. Depressing book, though. (duh!)

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