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Monkey Brain Sushi: New Tastes in Japanese Fiction
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Monkey Brain Sushi: New Tastes in Japanese Fiction

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  314 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Cyberpunk, sci-fi and erotica all meld together in this collection of cutting-edge short stories. The authors tend towards near-zero emotional chill, stunned urbanity and a shiny kind of violence.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by Kodansha (first published 1991)
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Adam Howells
Alfred Birnbaum's introduction to this book downplays the fiction in this volume as neither serious literature nor pulpy trash; rather, he tells us it finds its stride in the middle of the road. The stories are artfully displayed, hence the sushi, and bounce frenetically between a variety of subjects, much like the unmindful "monkey brain" of Buddhism. To put less metaphorically, these stories are enjoyable, possibly escapist realities.

This really downplays the content of this anthology. There i
Sep 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have a thing for short stories. I love writing them. I love reading them.
I also am somewhat of an (un?)closeted Japanophile.

Thus Monkey Brain Sushi caught my eye at a discount book store.

I have to admit that a handful of these stories were somewhat too odd/creepy/oversexualized for my taste, but this collection houses a few real gems.

My personal favorite was Mazelife by Kyoji Kobayashi. It's a beautifully crafted story about a man seeking God, who quickly becomes disappointed with all the avai
Aug 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
bah: alla fine "fiocchi di neve di peonia" sa essere toccante (ed è di gran lunga la cosa migliore qua in mezzo), "il giorno più buio del giappone" fa alzare un sopracciglio per la curiosità (ma è roba di un attimo)e "il diario di yamada" sorprende nel suo anticipare (1988!) i videogiochi alla "the sims" (ma poco altro: la solita storia di adolescenza buttata via). peccato che tutto il resto non si lasci ricordare...
Strong Extraordinary Dreams
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Read this years - decades - ago. It really expanded my then young mind as to what short stories could be.
Mar 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
(Original pub date: 1991)

This is a collection of "modern" (compiled in 1991) Japanese short stories. Except, many of them aren't even short stories, I discovered, but excerpts from novellas. What the heck was the editor thinking?!? It destroys the integrity of the work if you cut half of it out; there's almost no point in reading it at all. It's like a sampler of various author's writing styles, presented without any possibility of deriving some meaning from the work.

Some of it was ok, and most
Mar 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I stumbled across "Monkey Brain Sushi" (what a title, right?) on the shelves of the local Half Price Books back in the mid-90s. "New tastes in Japanese fiction" the cover declared. Well hey, I enjoy manga and anime, so why not? Plus it was five bucks--can't go wrong there.

I'll echo the comments of several other reviewers here in that I was disappointed to discover that many of what I thought were stand-alone short stories were, in fact, just chapters or excerpts from longer novels. That's not to
Apr 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giappone, narrativa
Questa antologia presenta otto racconti ed un fumetto, scritti tutti tra il 1984 ed il 1988.
Tra questi, spiccano per tipologia "La ragazza", unico fantascientifico del lotto, e "Il giorno più buio del Giappone", il fumetto appunto.
Rispetto alla qualità, invece, si fanno notare il geniale ed ironico "Esame di ammissione di giapponese per studenti zelanti", l'originale "Il diario di Yamada" ed il pimpante "Sproing!".
Non è una raccolta eccezionale, anzi: alcuni racconti sono soporifieri e mancano d
Alexander Páez
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasía, nihon
Interesante compendio de relatos y extractos de novelas publicados a finales de los 80. Entre los autores se ven algunos que hoy en día son muy populares (o lo han sido) como Haruki Murakami o Amy Yamada. Es interesante descubrir nuevos (para mí) autores. En conjunto me ha parecido una antología irregular y con pocos relatos destacables, pero por aquel entonces esta iniciativa me hubiera parecido excelente. Pero colocar fragmentos de novelas largas que no se han llegado a publicar en inglés me p ...more
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oddly, I was given this book by one of my high school English teachers after expressing an interest in Japan and Japanese literature--and these are a collection of tales I find myself going back and reading over and over again. They are all modern to post modern, and as such have intriguing and often sexual themes from authors who are either quite popular in translation now or have yet to be published otherwise in English. Amy Yamada's Kneel Down and Kiss My Boots remains one of my favorite stor ...more
Terri Jacobson
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
This collection of short stories, published in 1990, features stories written by what was then the young vanguard of Japanese fiction. The writers were born between 1947 and 1966, and were considered the best of the new generation that came of age in the 1980s. The stories are interesting from this historical perspective. They are quirky, unusual, and definitely would not be to everyone's taste. I enjoyed this collection because I have a special interest in Japanese fiction.
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Alfred Birnbaum is an American born in 1957, living in Myanmar when he is not traveling elsewhere.

He has spend many years in Japan since childhood, and has been actively involved in the visual and performing arts there. He is also one of the leading translators of contemporary Japanese fiction, with three major novels by Haruki Murakami, and the award-winning A Burden of Flowers by Natsuki Izekawa
More about Alfred Birnbaum...