Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Patient X: The Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa” as Want to Read:
Patient X: The Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Patient X: The Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  133 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Ryuosuke Akutagawa was one of Japan's great writers. He lived through Japan's turbulent Taisho period, including the devastating 1923 earthquake, only to take his own life at the age of just thirty-five in 1927.

Inpsired by Akutagawa's stories, essays and letters, David Peace has fashioned an extraordinary novel of tales. An intense, passionate, haunting paean to one
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 7th 2019 by Faber Faber
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 Patient X, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Patient X

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  133 ratings  ·  23 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Patient X: The Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Angus McKeogh
Jun 11, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think David Peace is one of the best writers out there. Style and substance. The Red Riding Quartet was phenomenal. The Damned UTD is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Even Tokyo Year Zero and Occupied City (two novels about Japan) were much better than I anticipated and I really enjoyed them. David Mitchell (another Anglo author stationed in and writing about Japan) states this recent work in one of Peace’s best. Unfortunately I’ll have to respectfully disagree. I’m still trying to figure ...more
Fernando Jimenez
Pearce parte de datos biográficos y de la obra enigmática del escritor Akutagawa para ir mucho más allá de una biografía o de un ensayo interpretativo. El escritor británico compone una novela que es una suma de relatos o cuadros en el que se conjuga la indagación y lo fantástico, el terror y la angustia de vivir. Los episodios del encuentro de Soseki con Jack el Destripador en Londres o el viaje del protagonista a Shangai son ejemplos de lo exquisito de este libro.
Marc Nash
Review included in review round up video
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
"From on the bridge
as i through away the cucumber,
the water sounds and thus i see,
a bobbed head."
-for Owaka-san,by drunken-Gaki.
Alex Sarll
The most surprising thing about David Peace's latest is that it's almost easy to read. Yes, it opens with the protagonist in Hell, before flashing back to him not wanting to be born, and proceeds to take in ghosts, monsters, madness, catastrophe, and harbingers of worse (I don't know why I even bothered looking online to check whether the time at which a clock in Nagasaki always stops is a foreshadowing of the atom bomb - this is David Peace, of course it is). Oh, and suicide, obviously. Lots of ...more
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary-lit
A fictional biography of the famous Japanese author that has some memorable and poignant passages on books and the publishing world, but unfortunately tapers off to a rather bland finish in the second half.
David Triviño
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Paciente X - Una NOVELA en mayúsculas
Que David Peace es un autor especial, que no escribe para todos los públicos, es algo obvio para todos los que en algún momento hayan tenido un libro suyo entre las manos o sepan algo de sus costumbres a la hora de escribir (ver mi anterior post al respecto). Y, sin embargo, la novela que, a priori, debía ser su obra menos accesible, se me antoja la más próxima.
Desde luego, escribir una novela-ficción sobre la vida de un escritor japonés de principios de
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the two best novels of 2018, Patient X by David Peace is among the immortal classics of world literature, the books we'll still be reading in a thousand years.
David Peace delivers a magnificent reimagination of the life and authorial presence of Akutagawa , independent originator of Japanese Surrealism and his documentation of his struggle against madness. Akutagawa attempted in his writing to heal himself using the method described by Shakespeare in Hamlet; to restore balance through
Patrick McCoy
British writer David Peace is most well known for the Red Riding series about the Yorkshire murderer, and has followed it up with a series of novels based on postwar crimes in Tokyo. These novels are notable for Peace’s experimental style that is rhythmically similar to jazz with much repetition. His latest book, Patient X: The Case-Book of Ryunosuke Akutagawa (2018) also has something of an experimental style, as a sort of literary biography of Japan’s master modern short story writer. Peace’s ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of literary fiction, biographical fiction, lovers of Japanese literature and culture.
Brilliant, evocative writing! The jumps in time, theme and style work almost magically well. Ryunosuke is a fascinating character pretty solidly based in the actual Ryunosuke Akutagawa's life as far as I can tell. Peace is not Japanese and hasn't lived there extensively as far as I can tell but clearly did serious research.

Now of course I want to read a nonfictional biography of him and read good translations of his works.

Highly recommended to fans of literary fiction, biographical and
Sep 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway for an honest review. The book had a nice story, although it was difficult to read. It had a lovely flow, but its mistake was set up like a standard novel, and less like a collection of poems. Also, the copy I have received had duplicates of every chapter, which confused me a couple of times when reading it.

This book would be enjoyable if it was an audio-book.
Lex Poot
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I read in a while. The story of one of the most acclaimed authors in Japanese history set in a time when Japan is going to a major transition. I have not read any of his other books and thus have no benchmark. I was somewhat surprised that people gave him two stars as they did not find this his best work. I guess I need to make a trip to the bookstore to find some of his other works.
Joshua Altman
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was filled with interesting stories and works of the author that hooked me to explore the subject’s stories. It was well crafted in its mix of the author’s work and accounts from outside witnesses. Well thought of and well respected book on the story of this tragic author. Definitely recommended.
Isaac Lambert
An interesting, fragmented read. I saw the review by David Mitchell on the back. If I had not, I still might have connected this novel and some of his writings, like Ghostwritten. Some repeated themes include purgatory, meeting your double, and suicide. I probably would have appreciated this more if I have read Ryūnosuke Akytagawa- this novel does inspire me to read him.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ik had hem graag 4 sterren gegeven. Één van de meest poëtische en “Japanse” boeken die ik laatst van dit land gelezen heb, maar het is me dus niet gelukt.
Alex Margolies
May 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book - very clever and well-done.
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure I understood this book at all.
Katharine Rudzitis
Creepy interwoven stories that will keep you going to the end. Not sure why there are some less than positive reviews, I enjoyed the book.
Jeanne Nichols
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway
This was difficult to read with no plot or true characters. It was an interesting experience, but not one I truly enjoyed.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I am a big fan of David Peace's writing, and have been patiently waiting for the final part of his Tokyo trilogy for a few years now. In the meantime this book, an hallucinatory biography of the famed Japanese author Ryunosuke Akutagawa, feeds my Japanese hunger. With 12 episodes relating to stories by or about Akutagawa the spinning, confusing, perspective changing tales give a sense of Japan and the man in his time. His contemporary Japanese writers (Tanazaki, Soseki and others) also feature, ...more
rated it liked it
Apr 16, 2018
Daniel Beck
rated it it was amazing
Jun 10, 2018
David Taylor
rated it it was amazing
Mar 31, 2019
Philip Gelatt
rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2019
Claire Wensley
rated it it was amazing
Jul 17, 2019
rated it it was ok
Oct 12, 2018
Claes Haglund
rated it really liked it
Dec 04, 2018
rated it it was ok
Sep 15, 2018
rated it it was amazing
Oct 12, 2019
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories
  • The Long Take
  • Petit éloge de l'errance
  • Cristallisation Secrète
  • El trabajo de los ojos
  • The Gallows Pole
  • Contra Amazon
  • Grand Union: Stories
  • The Dig
  • Greetings from Bury Park
  • Sortie parc, gare d'Ueno
  • Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
  • Extinction
  • The Reservoir Tapes
  • Memories of the Future
  • In Our Mad and Furious City
  • Babbling Corpse: Vaporwave and the Commodification of Ghosts
  • My Life in Football: The Autobiography
See similar books…
David Peace was born in 1967 and grew up in Ossett, near Wakefield. He left Manchester Polytechnic in 1991, and went to Istanbul to teach English. In 1994 he took up a teaching post in Tokyo and now lives there with his family.

His formative years were shadowed by the activities of the Yorkshire Ripper, and this had a profound influence on him which led to a strong interest in crime. His quartet of