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Record of a Night Too Brief

3.19  ·  Rating details ·  1,002 ratings  ·  162 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
Paperback, 158 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Pushkin Press (first published 1996)
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'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
Breslin White
Sep 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Strange cover. Indeed!
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
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 really 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
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the middle story but the other two were just okay.
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and pleasantly confusing, exactly how I like my translated Japanese fiction.
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
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 Putria
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."
Nabilah Firdaus
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.
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
4.5 stars.

I loved this book.
Full review is up on my blog :)

See you there!
Hafizz Nasri
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
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
Mar 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020
probably the weirdest book i've ever read
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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 🌟
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.
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
Wahyu Novian
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the reason I'm not a fan short stories is they ended too fast since they're short. I know I'm that absurd. But I do read anything. And this one was cool.

This book consist of three short stories. These three have similar lyrical and mythical lore. The stories flow nicely and somehow calmly, yet so intriguing. I wondered where and how will the stories end. And then it ended, leaving me confused as hell. Seriously. It was that weird. It didn't seem to have any point.

Record of a Night Too B
Nov 06, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book consisted of 3 short stories. I could not finish the first story because I did not understand what was going far as I can tell a series of dreams, none of which made any sense to me. It became too boring so I put down the book and about 3-4 weeks later finished off the next two stories. I read the stories from start to finish just to say to myself I completed the book (It is hard for me to start to read a book and put it down never to return to it). I know I am being negative. ...more
Kasa Cotugno
These are not so much short stories as mini novellas, and each is deep, impenetrable, and gorgeous. So why not a higher rating. I chose to review this because of my love for the writing of Haruki Murakami, whose surreality has entranced me for over 30 years. I can't explain why I couldn't engage with these stories, given their obvious quality, and think that maybe they just went over my head, that the metaphors on display here were based on a Japanese idea of metaphysics that I don't know enough ...more
Jen Gilomen
May 20, 2018 rated it did not like it
I suppose there are metaphors or allegories buried within this dream-poem language, but language that is this continuously nonsensical doesn’t give the reader enough to latch onto (i.e. plot? Don’t need one. Characters? Nah. I’m being “creative!”) and ends up coming out meaningless. I read a bit of it and felt I was wasting precious time, and put it down. I felt the author was trying too hard to be way too “creative” with language, such that it became unintelligible and uninteresting.
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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 re

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