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Touring the Land of the Dead (and Ninety-Nine Kisses)

3.08  ·  Rating details ·  38 ratings  ·  22 reviews
A story from one of Japan's rising literary stars about memory, loss, and love, Touring the Land of the Dead is a mesmerizing combination of two tales, both told with stylistic inventiveness and breathtaking sensitivity.

Taichi was forced to stop working almost a decade ago and since then he and his wife Natsuko have been getting by on her part-time wages. But Natsuko is a
ebook, 144 pages
Published March 4th 2021 by Europa Editions (first published July 30th 2012)
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disclaimer: in the below review I am expressing my own entirely subjective opinion. I do not wish to invalidate anyone's feelings or thoughts about this book. If you loved it or liked it, huzzah!
If you are thinking of reading this I recommend you check out some more positive reviews.

Touring the Land of the Dead comprises two short stories. The first one follows Natsuko who is traveling with her husband, who after an unspecified neurological disease requi
Paul Fulcher
Jan 02, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: net-galley, 2021
Touring the Land of the Dead has been translated by Haydn Trowell from the Japanese original by Maki Kashimada.

The book actually consists of two short novellas, the title piece and Ninety-Nine Kisses (of similar length with the total book running to only 144 pages).

Both stories are emotionally charged, with an obsessive first person narrator, and both also effectively, evoke the setting and particularly the food, colour of modern day Tokyo, aided by Trowell’s translation that leaves several wor
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
“While she had always had some awareness of the unnaturalness of what she was doing, up until now she never paused to reflect on it.”

These two novellas—markedly different from one another—have a few things in common: unnatural family bonds and the internal tension of moving towards resolution. Each relies on a degree of repetition and each is haunting in its own way.

In the first—Touring the Land of the Dead—Natsuko, the daughter of a delusional and socially scheming mother, marries beneath her p
Eule Luftschloss
trigger warning
(view spoiler)

This book includes two stories. The first is about a trip a wife and her disabled husband make, with her reminiscing about her past; the second is about another protagonist coming to terms with the fact that one of her three sisters started dating.

Story one was depressing because of the family dynamic, story two was weird as the protagonist kept (view spoiler)
Feb 15, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two novellas, both quite different. I generally love fiction translated from Japanese & the first novella (the title of the book), I really enjoyed. I’m not sure if it’s the Japanese culture or how the Japanese word translates into English, but I usually always find Japanese stories beautiful & thoughtful & heartfelt. This first story was no exception. An absolutely simple concept of one woman’s love for her husband & how she will not allow her unconventional family to ruin her love for him.

Feb 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
“When I was little, I thought it would still be possible to return to the good old days that my mom and all the others always talked about. But then after I came to this rundown hotel as a girl, I realized that the past isn't somewhere you can go back to.” #MakiKashimida #TouringTheLandOfTheDead #EuropaEditions

Genre: #Fiction #JapaneseLiterature #Cultural #ShortStories

My rating: 4/5

This book has definitely reminded me that beauty is in simplicity. Same could be said about the literature. Mak

Okay so it was definitely a strange read, but there's something uncomfortably satisfying about the way Maki Kashima tells a story.

The stories are blunt and shamelessly honest. The messiness of being human is really put out on the table.

Through the two novellas in this book, she leads us to some of the places where memory, fantasy, love, and heartache takes people in their minds.

I definitely see why this book could leave people feeling a bit (very?) weirded out. I had moments of "what a
Feb 05, 2021 rated it it was ok
Two novellas, whose substance and approach are poles apart.

The first, Touring the Land of the Dead , is a melancholy reflection of a woman’s life and her restrained efforts to reconcile with it.

Learning how despicably Natsuko was treated by her ungrateful, needy family was a pretty depressing affair. They chipped away at her good nature piece by little piece and now, after escaping ‘that life’ as she constantly refers to it, her husband’s continuing welfare presents its own demands.

As her pa
Mar 20, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very surreal, and simple.

I wrote a full review here,
Chris Haak
Mar 16, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book consists of two novellas. The first one really got to me. It angered me enormously to see how badly Natsuko is treated by her family and how she doesn't even rise up against them. If a book succeeds in making me furious, it at least did something right ;-). I found the second story less interesting. Maybe I didn't get the meaning of it, but it was too weird for my liking.
All in all I enjoyed this short, modern, Japanese read.
Thank you Europa Editions and Edelweiss for the ARC.
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Touring the Land of the Dead (and Ninety-Nine Kisses) by Maki Kashimada and translated by Haydn Trowell is an upcoming release from Europa Press (March 2021). Starting the year with a book of novellas was reminiscent of last year and reading Kitchen. On the surface the two novellas included in this book do not have much in common but they have more to say than at first glance.
Touring the Land of the Dead is about a husband and wife, Taichi and Natsuko, who go on holiday together to a spa that Na
Nov 29, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review to come when book is published.
Mar 04, 2021 rated it liked it
In "Touring the Land of the Dead", Maki Kashimada gifts us with two novellas, the first about the coexisting loneliness and companionship of married life, the second about the fear of losing one's closest friends to romantic relationships.

Touring the Land of the Dead

Tws: sexual assault, workplace harassment, physical abuse, depression, mental health

This first short story was definitely the one that impacted me the most for how sadly familiar a lot of the themes in it were.

When Natsuko makes a se
Jan 22, 2021 rated it really liked it
Two short novellas that, at first, seem quite different, but on closer reading reveal a common theme of a woman who feels that her identity is formed by those around her, that she has no real sense of self, and who slowly comes to realise the truth of her situation.

In the title story, Natsuko takes her ailing husband Taichi to a seaside hotel that, many years ago, her grandfather had taken her family. The hotel is tired and the paint peeling, but over the course of their stay Natsuko is forced t
Kimberly Ouwerkerk
Jan 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: japan
Novella 1: Touring the Land of the Dead
As the narrator reminisces about the past, you get a glimpse into her innermost thoughts. You read about what it is like to be married to someone suffering from a disease. Her husband feels fulfilled and she sees no reason to deny him that. In the end, her silent acceptance of her marriage helps her deal with that life, her past.

The author hits the mark when describing the not quite happy moments of camaraderie paired with moments of loneliness while being
Feb 13, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021
These two novellas were very different but equally strange. The first one, 'Touring the Land of the Dead', started with a wife caring for a disabled husband and, as they prepare to spend two days in a hotel turned into a health centre, reminisces about her childhood and her dysfunctional family. I kept thinking this would go somewhere... but it didn't. I have read and enjoyed plenty of books where seemingly nothing ever happens, but this left me a different impression - like many false starts. I ...more
Apr 10, 2021 rated it liked it
3.5 🌟. Kaksi pitkää ja aika erilaista novellia samassa kirjassa. Ensimmäisessä nainen muistelee elämäänsä ja sen kipukohtia vammautuneen miehensä seurassa hoitokylpylässä. Naisena elo on ollut oman itsensä kadottamista ja ovimattoista alistumista. Miehen seura tekee kuitenkin yllättäviä ihmeitä.

Toisessa novellissa neljän sisaruksen nuorin mustasukkaistuu muiden siskojen ihastuttua tuntemattomaan mieheen. Seksuaalisuuden heräämisen kuvausta, matka yhteydestä erilliseen naiseuteen. Oispa sento!

Anne Goodwin
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: translations
This consists of two novellas. In one, a woman who has been bullied by her mother and brother takes her disabled husband to a hotel she knew as a child. There, through his example, she learns acceptance. In the other, the youngest of four sisters who live with their mother observes how they compete for a man’s attention.
Emily Grace
Thank you to Europa Editions for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review! All opinions are my own.

Lisa of Hopewell
Feb 08, 2021 marked it as to-read
I learned of this book here:
Chelsea-Anne Kennedy
Mar 12, 2021 rated it did not like it
I was giving an arc copy on netgalley for an honest review.

This book is two novellas. The first is about a women who is married to someone who has a neurological disease. I understand what it was trying to do, discussing the contempt she has for her family and the way the treat her while also dealing with her conflicting feelings about her husband and their situation. I feel that this story didn't go anywhere, we see them go to a health retreat and get flashbacks of her horrible brother and moth
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