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Record of a Night Too Brief

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3.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,196 ratings  ·  201 reviews
The Akutagawa Prize-winning stories from the author of Strange Weather in Tokyo.

In these three haunting and lyrical stories, three young women experience unsettling loss and romance.

In a dreamlike adventure, one woman travels through an apparently unending night with a porcelain girlfriend, mist-monsters and villainous monkeys; a sister mourns her invisible brother whom on
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Paperback, 158 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Pushkin Press (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.22  · 
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Blair
'Record of a Night Too Brief', the first story in a collection of three, can only be described as a series of dreamlike events. It opens with the narrator realising that 'the night was nibbling into me'; she starts running and immediately transforms into a horse, with onlookers clapping and exclaiming 'the Night Horse has arrived'. She's later forced to eat huge quantities of strange food by 'an array of gentlemen', chased by a talking monkey, quizzed by a crowd of demanding kiwis, and almost tu ...more
Elyse  Walters
Jun 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
Record of a life too Brief -
(Japanese Novellas Book 3),
by Hiromi Kawakami

The Akutagawa Prize-winning stories - novella series - of contemporary Japanese writing.

Three young women experience an unsettling loss and romance.
….In a dream-like adventure, one woman travels with a porcelain girlfriend, mist monsters, and villainous monkeys.
….A sister mourns her invisible brother home that only she can see.
….An accident with a snake leaves a shop girl to discover the snake families everyone else see
...more
Breslin White
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Strange cover. Indeed!
Gabrielle
Surreal seems like an understated way of describing this little trio of dream-like short stories. They reminded me of the first time I went to Fantasia Film Festival, where they are no stranger to the bizarre and hallucinatory. I had never read Kawakami before, but the friend who recommended it does enjoy this sort of fever dreams.

A woman's metamorphosing through a night out, the disappearance of a brother leading to an awkward family situation, and a snake moving in with a simple shop girl: tho
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Alice Lippart
The writing was lovely, but this was just too weird for me.
Laura D
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
The first story was an utter chore to get though. The second one started out better but then turned into a chore for the same reasons as the first one. The third one I was bored and indifferent to.
I really wanted to like these short stories as I loved Kawakami's other works.
I nearly gave up halfway through the second story but persevered simply due to the author.
I've given it as 2 instead of a 1 as Kawakami's writing style is still really good just the short stories lack in so much
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Phee
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the middle story but the other two were just okay.
Lauren
▫️ RECORD Of A Night Too Brief by Hiromi Kawakami, tr. Lucy North

This was my first by the prolific writer and widely translated Hiromi Kawakami. While the star ratings for this one on various sites are often pretty low/middling, I liked this one, seemingly more than the average reader.

Surreal + weird is "my bag".

Three stories - different in nature but with common fantastical threads. The titular "Record" story was an episodic dreamscape reminiscent of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. ♠️♥️♣️
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chantel nouseforaname
Psychedelic and strange but pointless.

I love weird shit but I hate weird shit with no point.

Things and people shrink and grow, there are demonic talking animals, men in suits trying to force-feed, a somewhat lesbian romance featuring a manic-pixie-dream-girl whom the main character is obsessing over/chasing/destroying/trying to save/running from. Mushrooms and spores grow out of people’s necks and faces, nature turning violent, growing and growing over, kids killing things, screeching kiwis, b
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Emma
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and pleasantly confusing, exactly how I like my translated Japanese fiction.
Akylina
Kawakami Hiromi has been one of the authors I meant to read more of this year (I had only read her short story 「神様2011年」 (translated in English as "God Bless You, 2011") for my Modern Japanese Literature course in my Master's degree last semester), so seeing this story collection published by Pushkin Press (one of my favourite publishers) I just had to get my hands on it.

This book consists of three separate stories (they're not actually short at all, so I'll just call them stories). The first o
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CaseyTheCanadianLesbrarian
This book of one novella and two short stories is one of the most unique things I've ever read. Kawakami's writing is bizarre, surreal, incredibly imaginative, and full of startling imagery and prose. A lot if this, especially the first story, seems to be working if not solely then mostly on the level of metaphor. My problem was I didn't know what the metaphor was--the tenor is there, but what's the vehicle? That leaves the meaning just out of reach. Or, that means there is none. Which is even w ...more
Stefani
The journey to finish this book maybe same as the story itself, full of bizzare and weird thing. I feel like watching some ghibli movies, whenever read one by one of this collection of short story.

My personal favorite, A snake stepped on. It's kinda remind me of Siluman Ular in Indonesian myth with weird feeling but making me curious about the ending.

"What was that itch on my back? I wondered. And then I realized that it was the night—the night was nibbling into me."
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Nadia
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was ok
"I could see the moon, high up in the sky, and I could feel the breeze gently caressing my skin, but nothing of what I was expecting might happen was happening." That's exactly how I feel about the three short stories in "Record of a night to brief" by Hiromi Kawakami, and not in a good way.

This was one of the most frustrating set of short stories I've read in a while. Why? Because the story line was as nonsensical as the writing was beautiful.

Kawakami uses magic realism, and folktales to slowly
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Nabilah Firdaus
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
What was that itch on my back, I wondered. And then I realized: the night was nibbling into me.

Record of a Night Too Brief consisted of three evocative stories that centred around ordinary people dealing with strange stuffs in their lives. A fast and nonsensical piece, the writing has got a huge, twisty, almost magical feeling to it. Loved it, loved it, loved it.

I highly recommend this if you wanna venture into Japanese literature + magical realism.

Actual rating: 4.2/5 stars.
stefiereads
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 stars.

I loved this book.
Full review is up on my blog :)
https://stefiereads.com/2018/04/02/re...

See you there!
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Mobyskine
Jan 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Super surreal. All three stories having that fantastical bizarrely imaginary plot that I felt like being transported to some unusual dreamy place or something.

Record Of A Night Too Brief: The most dreamy of all. Very bewitching and mystical. I love the plot idea and the narrator's way of explaining what was happening though quite strange and doesn't make any sense. I was sucked deep inside the picturesque narrative, figuring myself out with all the characters and scenes above all imagination I c
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Ian Mond
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Record of a Night Too Brief by Hiromi Kawakami is a collection of three novelettes which, according to the back cover blurb, won the Akutagaw Prize in 1996. This is their first translation and publication in English by the wonderful Pushkin Press who continue to bring fascinating, off-beat translated work to the public.

The opening piece, which provides the book with its title, is surreal and experimental and yet utterly accessible. The story has the most eye-catching of openings:

“What was that i
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Kirsty
Sep 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
I really liked Kawakami's debut English language novel, but this collection of novellas was simply not for me. It takes magical realism to another level entirely, and was too strange for me. Not as good as I was expecting, I'm afraid. ...more
vivika
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020
probably the weirdest book i've ever read ...more
eriophora
May 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An excellent novella collection exploring the precipice between life and death. First, a series of dream-like vignettes, each a melancholy consideration on the stages of life and their ultimate lack of meaning. Next, an exploration of tradition and what happens when it begins to unravel. Finally, in the third novella, the intersection between routine, happiness, and the false siren's call of suicide.

Full review to come!
...more
Nilu
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars.

A surreal reading experience!
Anita Fajita Pita
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Honestly, sometimes I don't even know what to say about a book. This was weird. Really, weird. One might call it magical realism, or magical surrealism, or super surrealism. All three stories were strange, although, to me, they seemed to get a little less strange. Either that or my expectations that it would make sense by the end just walked off a cliff.

The first story staggers between scenes of random nonsensical dreamscapes, and scenes of a river of people steadily marching towards some goal.
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Anna
Nov 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This is a collection of three Japanese stories that take magical realism to the extreme - they are bordering on fantasy, with the strong distinction that the characters are occasionally just as taken aback as the reader.

The first story can't really be summarized, nor is it really possible to tell what is going on during reading it. I didn't really like it for the same reason that I didn't love Alice in Wonderland: everything was just too weird in an inconsequential way. There was no real engagin
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Althea
DNF
I was so disappointed by this book! I love Hiromi Kawakami's writing but this was just so unlike everything else I've read by her and, even though they were short stories, they dragged so much. I quite liked the first one and it is in fact sapphic (after I said I really wanted a book with a sapphic main character from Kawakami!). It's very surrealist and strange but I was at least invested in it (and I loved the kiwis!).

I stopped reading the second one about 15 pages before the end because no
...more
Steff
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Psychedelic. Entertaining. Mystical.

Compared to the two Kawakami books I’ve read before, this is by far the one I’m most impressed with.
Kasia
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A collection of three short stories. It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did I read through and finished the book.

The stories have loose narratives that oscillate between existing entirely in dream-worlds that defy reason, and adopting the quiet, grounded believability of magic realism.

This is between a 3.5 - 4.0 🌟
Taka
Really liked the title story for sure—super weird, fable-like, and fun to read. I wasn't a fan of the other stories included in this, though. "The Vanishing Family" was equally weird but didn't really hold my attention for some reason, and I just couldn't get into the last episodic story. ...more
gwayle
This volume collects three stories: "Record of a Night Too Brief," "Missing," and "A Snake Stepped On." All are imaginative, lush, and atmospheric, with that tone of understated emotion that will be familiar to readers of contemporary Japanese literature, such as the novels of Banana Yoshimoto, Yoko Ogawa, and Haruki Murakami. I had not read any Hiromi Kawakami previous to this collection.

My descriptions below technically contain spoilers, though my feeling is that plot is beside the point and
...more
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1,395 followers
Kawakami Hiromi (川上弘美 Kawakami Hiromi) born April 1, 1958, is a Japanese writer known for her off-beat fiction.

Born in Tokyo, Kawakami graduated from Ochanomizu Women's College in 1980. She made her debut as "Yamada Hiromi" in NW-SF No. 16, edited by Yamano Koichi and Yamada Kazuko, in 1980 with the story So-shimoku ("Diptera"), and also helped edit some early issues of NW-SF in the 1970s. She rei
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