Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Record of a Night Too Brief” as Want to Read:
Record of a Night Too Brief
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Record of a Night Too Brief

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  712 ratings  ·  121 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
Paperback, 158 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Pushkin Press (first published 1996)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Record of a Night Too Brief, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Record of a Night Too Brief

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  712 ratings  ·  121 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Record of a Night Too Brief
'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 it was amazing
I received this book in exchange for a candid review.

This book is either dreamlike, and if it is then it misses the point, or understandable because it is completely metaphorical. I can only take it as completely metaphorical.

Each short section depicts the daily life of the Japanese woman; her passivity is again and again the subject of the book’s feminist outlook, explored either comedically or urgently. The translation is entirely up to date.

Metaphor is defined in the dictionary
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 sh
Alice Lippart
The writing was lovely, but this was just too weird for me.
Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the middle story but the other two were just okay.
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
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 one, "R
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable and pleasantly confusing, exactly how I like my translated Japanese fiction.
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
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.
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!
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 ima
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: ...more
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,
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!
Vivek Tejuja
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“Record of a Night Too Brief” is a weird book and that I say in a good way. It took me some time to wind my head around it, but it proved to be a very satisfying read, nonetheless. This book is a collection of three fantastical short stories and on the surface, while they all seem to be rather easy and direct, they are anything but that.

In the first titular story, there are dream sequences (reminded me a lot of Murakami when that happened), talking animals, shrinking girls, mathemati
Feb 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is a bit different from Nakano Thrift Shop and Strange Weather in Tokyo. The writings were nice yet calming. But the stories were peculiar and suddenly they went bizzare! But I enjoyed every single story to be honest
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.
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
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
Lolly K Dandeneau
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
via my blog:
“Maybe the only reason I kept searching for her was because I began searching for her.”

Night chews on all of us at some point in time, and of course with these phantasmagorical metamorphoses the reader can take it as it is or read more meaning into every moment. There is a reason Schrödinger’s Cat (from the first story) hung out in the the dark closet of my mind for a while. “How could anyone endure such a state, of having someone there and not there- not there and th
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
How to describe this stunning, strange, disturbing, chilling, brilliant collection of stories?

It’s part horror, part magical realism, all beauty. It’ll suck you in and spit you back out much too quickly. What I mean is: I wanted more! There’s something mysteriously charismatic about the writing; I can’t quite place my finger on why I loved it so much. (For some reason, I was getting Alexandra Kleeman vibes here, if that helps explain my immediate liking for it.)

The first “story” is more
Nostalgia Reader
The cover of this book caught me immediately, the synopsis just sounded too surreal to pass down, and the stories themselves were the perfect mixture of matter of fact surrealism and imagery. I wouldn't recommend this as someone's first foray into surrealism, but for those who already know a bit about the genre, whether literary, visual, or both, it's a collection of three well-crafted stories.

The title story, Record of a Night Too Brief, was my favorite out of the three stories. It's compiled of a mulstory, Record
Sep 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2017, netgalley
I received a galley of this book from NetGalley; that has not influenced my opinions or thoughts about this book.

Record of a Night Too Brief is presented as a volume of three novellas, but it read much more like three lengthier short stories. Kawakami's stories are presented with very little context, bringing together mystical and fantastical elements to normal-seeming situations. There are some passages that are clearly obvious – women struggling to gain power, to possess their own identities, a/>Record
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ugh... what was that all about?? It was such a short book but what a painful read. I only knew what was going on half the time. Cover is apt, might need a few 'shrooms make sense of all this. Too weird for me.
Helen McClory
interesting stories but the follow through is a little weaker than I would like, and in my opinion.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5 stars for the first two stories, 4 stars for the third
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Ms Ice Sandwich
  • Slow Boat
  • Sortie parc, gare d'Ueno
  • 春の庭 [Haru no niwa]
  • Die Zeit, die uns bleibt: Erzählungen
  • 熊の敷石 [Kuma no shikiishi]
  • The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories
  • 흰
  • Cristallisation Secrète
  • House of the Sleeping Beauties and Other Stories
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor
  • Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom
  • Territory of Light
  • Les ananas de la colère
  • Moshi moshi
  • コンビニ人間 [Konbini ningen]
  • Schoolgirl
  • Trastulli d'animali
See similar books…
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
“W czasach pradziadka, zdaje się, polerowanie odbywało się w nieco przypadkowy sposób, zdarzało się, że przez kilka miesięcy waza stała niewypolerowana. Z pokolenia na pokolenie procedura stawała się jednak coraz bardziej wyszukana. Było prawie pewne, że obowiązek polerowania wazy przejmie po ojcu najstarszy brat.” 0 likes
“Sucked in and turned around by the blades, the night at first flows smoothly, but then it starts to take on a denser consistency. Already the night was nearly halfway through its course, so a good portion of it had hardened. Because of this, as I walked through it, it gave me none of the easy, buoyant feeling you get in the early-evening hours. Something about it seemed creaky. But that was, in its own way, typical of the night too.” 0 likes
More quotes…