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Shrike

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  32 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Brett Stokes is already middle-aged and yet feels that his life has not begun. In an attempt to make sense of his existence he travels to the provincial town of Ôtani in Japan, hoping that, through his writing, he will obtain the insight that he lacks. But in Japan it is late autumn and, closeted within the garden of the lately widowed Mrs Kunisada, Stokes finds the motley ...more
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published February 1st 2008 by PS Publishing (first published 2008)
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4.25  · 
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 ·  32 ratings  ·  3 reviews


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Stephen Theaker
Dec 22, 2008 rated it liked it
The shrike is a bird that impales its prey upon thorns. This book concerns Brett, a would-be writer in his mid-thirties who travels to Japan after a relationship fails and becomes obsessed with the idea that there's a shrike in the garden.

I'm a bit torn with this book. It's very well-written, there is some fascinating discussion of Japanese literature, there are lots of lovely details, and the central relationship, between Brett and an elderly widow, is fascinating, touching and unusual. It's a
...more
G.R. Yeates
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent novella though, as with much of Quentin S. Crisp's work, probably not for everybody. A very arresting take on the Japanese tradition of the I-Novel, which is referenced in the narrative. The I-Novel being a work in which nothing happens in the sense we usually understand in Western literature; an I-Novel being a mode in which a period of life is realsitically recorded by the writer.

In Shrike, we simply observe a would-be writer in his mid-thirties as he spends a month's holiday wit
...more
John Hepple
Jul 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What can I say about Crisp? The man has a real way with words. This novella had been sitting on my shelf for such a long time, now I'm kicking myself for not having devoured it sooner. Especially as I had enjoyed Morbid Tales so very much.

Existentialism and self-loathing, and birds.

Crisps descriptions of Japan are amongst the most exciting, yet relaxing and poetic, I have ever read.

Read everything that this man has put to paper. I'm serious.
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