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Me Against the World

(Japanese Literature)

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3.15  ·  Rating details ·  20 ratings  ·  6 reviews
A jaded journalist inherits an abandoned manuscript penned by an old acquaintance who has recently passed away. The writing a collection of ruminations on the nature of existence by a fifty-three-year old businessman who, as far as the journalist remembers, was a kind and gentle soul is nothing short of shocking. In it, this apparent everyman whom we know only as Mr. K wri ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published August 26th 2016 by Dalkey Archive Press (first published 2008)
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Average rating 3.15  · 
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Justin Evans
Apr 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
An interesting version of the essay-as-novel; it's a work of fairly generic literary existentialism (Japanese style), juvenile, moderately interesting, but humorless (the key to the great works of LitEx being that they're funny: Bernhard, Kafka, even Dostoevsky). And then, in the last few pages, Shiraishi somehow leads us into something interesting and affecting and moral and touching. I have no idea how he pulls it off.
Serdar
Nov 09, 2016 added it
A star rating for this may not be applicable. Not a novel, more like an elongated essay, one that makes a single useful point ("Love can never overthrow death, but that's why love can come close to us"). A poor man's "Notes from Underground".
Eska
Jun 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Tedious, but the last five pages surprised me. I think they made the whole book worth reading.
Lorenzo
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for every person struggling with the weight of "a hope/love-saturated" education or philosophy. The best birthday gift I bought for myself.
Geoffrey Whitehall
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
WORDS without BORDERS compared this to Nietzsche and Camus in their review (http://bit.ly/2m2N0bQ), which I am sure would delight the author. Raj Mahtani, the translator has done a brilliant job translating this title, which must have been a herculean task. It was a pleasure to read, which is something I often don't feel about translated novels, even the ones which are much less philosophical and thought provoking. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it so much as it is really a ...more
Jennie
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandon
Nope.

Too depressing-I lost interest in the story.
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Kazufumi SHIRAISHI (白石 一文) is a Japanese writer. He is the son of novelist Ichiro Shiraishi. The two are the only father-son pair to have both received the Naoki Prize, the father on his eighth try after numerous disappointments and the son on his second, for the 2009 Hokanaranu hito e (To an Incomparable Other); at his prize press conference the son got a laugh by joking that he had always "hated ...more

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