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Lion Cross Point

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  143 ratings  ·  19 reviews
When 10-year-old Takeru arrives at his mother's home village in the middle of a scorching summer, he's all alone and in possession of terrible memories. Unspeakable things have happened to his mother and his mentally disabled 12-year-old brother. As Takeru gets to know Mitsuko, his new caretaker, and Saki, his spunky neighbor, he meets more of his mother's old friends, dis ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published April 10th 2018 by Two Lines Press (first published January 19th 2013)
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3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  143 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Paul Fulcher
Now deservedly longlisted for the 2019 Best Translated Book Award

"I hated it. Detested it. I wanted to get away as soon as I could."
Takeru was still here, in this place his Mother hated, and his brother was not beside him.

Masatsugu Ono is one of the leading Japanese novelists of the 'post-Murakami' generation (a label he accepts) and, a very short work aside, this is his first novel to be translated into English. His other books have won the Asahi Award for New Writers, the Mishima Yukio Pri
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this short book on the first flight of four on a recent trip. The book is about Takeru, a young boy who has left Tokyo to go to a small seaside village where his mother grew up. His mother hated the village but Takeru finds the village and its inhabitants comforting. The boy has been greatly traumatized. The details of what happened to his mother and his mentally-handicapped older brother are fuzzy to him (and to the reader) but enough information is given for one's imagination to come up ...more
Jun 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
One of the most unique (strangest?) books I’ve ever read. I won this as part of an Independent Bookstore Day giveaway from Second Flight Books in Lafayette. (Thank you, Laura and Justin!) I give Mr. Ono credit for portraying the thought processes of a 10-year-old child in a very believable way. However, there isn’t much about this book that is uplifting or positive. It is bleak, to say the least. However, it is short. I was able to read it in one day while doing plenty of other stuff in that sam ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
3.5. Longlisted for the Best Translated Book Awards, this novel portrays the viewpoint of an 11 year old boy who has come to live with a relative in a seaside town. Using a non-linear approach, we are gradually led to an understanding of why he has come to live there and some of the trauma that existed in his former life. There were some spectral elements that also fit well into the story.

Though I am usually not able to comment on the translation quality, I did have a problem with some of the ge
Dec 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a really sad book, which makes it hard to recommend, but it is very well written. The story of a little boy who comes to stay at his mother's hometown in the aftermath of horrific tragedy, it is a delicate and tender exploration of childhood trauma. There is nothing saccharine or sentimental about it, but neither is it needlessly awful or punishing. A careful, melancholy work.
Jee Koh
Mar 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Abandoned by his mother, Takeru has to take care of an older brother who suffers from mental disability. Ono brings the reader right into the experience of the trauma. The language, as translated, is spare, and so gives lots of room for breathing and imagining. Not much happens, but what happens is elemental. The betrayal of loved ones. The kindness of strangers. And the enormous hope one can invest in a healing dolphin.

Andy Weston
Jun 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
As sad a story as this is, the messages that are taken from it are of hope and resilience. Though not narrated, it is told beautifully from the point of view of a 10 year old boy, Takeru, who has gone to live with his grandmother on the coast after an abusive relationship with his mother’s boyfriend led to him and his physically disabled brother being abandoned. Takeru and his brother’s story emerges gradually, representing his memory untangling after tragedy and his inner toughness.
The novella
Jul 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sad, yes, but also beautiful and haunting. It reminded me of the gritty realism found in the film "Shoplifters" -- a side of Japan that is often hidden from the rest of the world.
Mason Jones
Apr 05, 2019 rated it liked it
This was quite a strange little book. The young boy Takeru has been sent to live with Mitsuko, an older woman who is apparently some relation to Takeru's mother, though he's not entirely sure what the relationship is. After arriving in the small village where Mitsuko lives, we read flashbacks as Takeru remembers his older brother and his mother, and in a hallucinatory way we learn bits and pieces about what happened to them and how Takeru ended up with Mitsuko. We never, though, get the full sto ...more
Jan 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
The narrator is a traumatized little boy mysteriously without his mother and brother and visiting his mother's hometown. The reader must try to piece together broken bits of memory and sensory impressions from the little boy's disjointed account. I think I know what happened although the story ends with no clear resolution. It's a book that can be appreciated only by readers who do not mind ambiguity, and that does describe me, but I am not completely satisfied with the story. Though I really en ...more
Kevin Shlosberg
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Vaguely reminiscent of Mark Haddon's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time', 'Lion Cross Point' was one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year. Though clearly infused with a poetic Japanese aesthetic (the descriptions of the countryside are very freshening), there's a lot of heart here.

I don't want to give anything away, but it shall suffice to say that it's story of trauma and healing. As the narrative progressed, I couldn't help but liken it to witnessing the sediment in
Richard Cho
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Takes the form very seriously (art-novel).
Tells the after-events of the traumatic story of a 10-year old, and some fractured memory of the trauma.
The novel tries to depict as exactly as possible what the boy is going through afterward, hence, the parts of narration are juxtaposed in an unconventional way. Many disparate events mingle with each other.
Metaphysical elements are nice. The scenery of a rural village recalled my own memories of countrysides in Korea. (although this novel takes place i
May 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another from the BTBA longlist. This was an atmospheric novel of a boy who had experienced some sort of trauma related to his family which is not fully explained. Telling the story from the boy's perspective the author uses ellipsis to leave gaps which the reader fills with their imagination while at the same time the author raises the question of the narrator's reliability by demostrating that some of what is recounted is imagined or hallucinated. The psychological confusion of the narrator is ...more
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This short, stunning book has added another author to my “must read” list. Matsatsugu Ono is an incredible writer and the translator Angus Turvill deserves praise for bringing us this work to English readers.

At times, this was heartbreaking. Like most good literature, it’s left me wanting to know more but still thinking.

This book gets my highest recommendation.
Oct 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
I typically have a lot of patience when it comes to odd books, but I couldn’t with this one. It’s possible it is partly the translation (the dialogue is so stilted I wanted to scream), but this book also tries to render every single moment as precious. It’s an aesthetic choice that quickly becomes grating.
Murf Reeves
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: emtional
The story is an awakening to the positive feeling of family by a young boy named Takeru. Ono uses brutal memory flashbacks of abuse as the familiar family lifestyle. Upon his return to his home village with new guardians he begins to discover new feelings that can't be explained. Not even by the ghost of a disappeared relative. Cool read!
Deb Pines
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moving tale

It was a little tough getting into this very brief tale narrated by a fourth-grade Japanese boy — but worth it. Gradually, you realize he’s experienced way more than his share of sorrow. He’s met abusers and people who are unusually kind. Maybe clunky translation makes some dialog awkward. But I’m glad I read this.
Ian Hamilton
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
An imaginative work. It probably would have been more enriching to have been able to read the original Japanese text because of it's abstract and dreamlike nature. Recommended.
Wynne G
rated it it was amazing
Aug 22, 2018
I like how Masatsugu Ono expresses memory -- it's not through flashbacks but acute encounters with the senses, be it associations with a person and/or a place. It's interesting to see how trauma unfolds itself through a narrative like that, but I also felt like there may have been a mix of magical realism in as well that didn't quite work for me.

But overall, an interesting, quick read. I just wish it was a little easier to get into the story.
June Scott
rated it really liked it
Apr 30, 2019
Michele M.
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Nov 29, 2018
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Marina Katague
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Feb 08, 2019
margaret a mars
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Jan 08, 2019
rated it it was ok
Jun 29, 2018
rated it it was ok
Mar 10, 2019
Kelli Mcknight
rated it it was ok
Sep 13, 2018
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May 26, 2018
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Masatsugu Ono (in Japanese, 小野正嗣) maintains a steady output of fiction while working as a professor and researcher of Francophone literature. After doing graduate work at the University of Tokyo, Ono earned his PhD at the University of Paris VIII. In 2001, he published his first novel, Mizu ni umoreru haka (The Water-Covered Grave), which won the Asahi Award for New Writers. His second novel, Nigi ...more
“His mother’s whisper was like blades of grass, rustling, chafed by the wind. He tried to remember the expression on her face as she spoke, but he couldn’t. Wanting to recall her voice more clearly, he closed his eyes, and when he did so he saw grass—dry, sad, tired.” 0 likes
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