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3.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,542 ratings  ·  387 reviews
Paprika - exotic, piquant, to be used sparingly. The eponymous heroine of Tsutsui's novel is the alter ego of brilliant and beautiful psychotherapist Atsuko Chiba, one of the leading brains in the Institute for Psychiatric Research. An expert in the use of 'psychotherapy devices' that trap a patient's dreams and display them on a monitor, Atsuko is able to manipulate those ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Alma Books Ltd (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,542 ratings  ·  387 reviews

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Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: READ AT YOUR OWN RISK
Paprika's cheeks were flushed with the thrill of the chase, as if she felt entertained by this quest for truth. To be sure, the challenge to unravel the mystery of dreams always came as a pleasure to her.

I am very conflicted and torn on how to rate and review this book.

Atsuko Chiba (age 29) and her colleague - the obese and infantile Kosaku Tokita - are psychiatric geniuses who are to awarded the Nobel Prize. This is because Kosaku has invented a DC Mini - a small patch which can be attached to
I'm sure the translation wasn't the best it could have been, but I can easily look past the clumsy sentences and imagine that the original version was at least a little bit better. But the real problem here is not the language or the style or the pacing, it's what I perceived was the mindset of the author: that of a sexist and homophobic jerk.
I haven't read anything else by this author and I don't really know anything about who or how Tsutsui is, but the way he created these characters seemed to
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So I don't know. Was this book seriously homophobic and misogynist? Was the structure really that formulaic and simplistic? Was I imagining the totally ridiculous, hyperidealized (and ultrasexualized) characterization of the female protagonist? Or do I just not get Japanese literature?

I keep trying. And the prime argument is that I'm not reading the right authors -- and yes, I'm sure that's true (recommendations?) to an extent. But I'm starting to think that there is something irreparably lost i
May 26, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Trigger warning: rape, sexual violence, and pretty offensive portrayals of mental illness (coming from someone who has dealt with them)

I'm reviewing this book before finishing it because the only reason I am going to continue reading is because I need to for my thesis.

Let me say first that I was super excited to read this after seeing the movie (which is amazing, you should watch it) but ugh. At first I thought maybe it was the translation that accounted for the bad soap opera dialogue and tota
Sara G
TLDR; conceptually interesting, but those concepts are not realized until the second half. Also, major trigger warning.

Paprika, a novel by prolific Japanese sci-fi author Yasutaka Tsutsui, is about the invention of a device to access others’ dreams. The protagonists and villains are doctors who work on psychological disorders at a cutting-edge clinic. Using the new device, they can watch a patient’s dreams and help diagnose and cure the patient’s neuroses. Of course, someone quickly realizes th
Two stars for being very inventive.

May 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
It's always interesting reading a book after watching (and being a big fan of) its movie version, especially in this case where the book's translation was only finished after the movie came out. Perhaps the main difference in this story about dreams taking over reality through stolen psychotherapy devices is that, unlike in Satoshi Kon's anime, where the more surreal imagery leaps from the screen within the first ten minutes, Tsutsui takes more than half the book for the content of dreams to bec ...more
Jeremy Hurd-McKenney
If you like your heroines to be smart, beautiful, Nobel-prize winning doctors, you might at first glance think this book is for you, but you would be wrong. Things start off innocently enough--a well-respected doctor moonlights as Paprika, a "dream detective" navigating her way through her clients' dreams as a way to find and isolate the source of their waking anxiety. Things start to get a little weird when Chiba's alter ego shows up at her client meetings disguised as a teenage girl, and every ...more
Julian Arce
Oh my... what to do when you review a book that it's both praised and hated? (and you're in the middle?)

The book is... well... weird to say the least. I approached it coming not only as anime "aficionado", with a hobby of studying japanese culture, and a psychologist (with psychoanalitic orientation) so I guess I can contribute my two pennies worth.

Starting with the good - the book is a nice sci-fi take on the dangers of technology, of the battle of new innovations and deeped seated traditions;
Ernest Junius
Nov 29, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: overrated-books
If there is any single reason I could finish this novel is because I have watched the movie; it brought me here. But what’s going on? Is it error in translation? Because honestly the prose… It feels like fresh coming out from a really bad hack. It’s not purple prose—it’s something else, what colours are worse than purple? Shit colour? It’s shit prose then. But in all fairness, aside from the prose (I’m trying to comment purely on the story here), the story falls like a cheap sci-fi telenovela sh ...more
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars.

Oh Paprika, you were doing so well to begin with.

I saw (and was thoroughly confused by) the animé film adaptation of this story a few years back, and couldn't wait to dive into the original source material in the hopes that the plot would be a little easier to digest the second time around. Unfortunately it didn't really work out that way - although the general premise is not difficult to understand, things get confusing pretty quickly, before everything ends up becoming just bat-shit
Jan 03, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
I seldom give out 1 star ratings and am disappointed that I have to give it to the author that wrote the story for the very good anime film "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time." Perhaps this novel fails because of the translation. "Paprika" is a disjointed and unpleasant mess that ran the spectrum from boring, to frenetically incomprehensible to insulting.

The premise is fantastic. Two researchers develop a machine that allows them to enter the dreams of mentally ill patients in order to treat them.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a difficult book to rate, but I think the average score at this point (3.27) is probably fair. I see other reviews mentioning misogyny, or the rape sequence- I don't know Tsutsui personally, and I don't know that he's a misogynist. There are characters in the book that are clearly misogynistic, but that doesn't necessarily mean the book, or the author, is misogynistic. However, the characterization of females here could be off-putting to some- myself included. Tsutsui is known for his da ...more
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a little hard for me enjoy it completely because I made the mistake of watching the movie before reading the book, so my brain was betraying me into making Paprika an animation image several times.

Apart from thar, it was a really intriguing book, and maybe the central idea of the plot its the best: what if we could enter other people dreams?, and even more disturbing, what if the things we imagine in our dreams and nightmares could turn into reality?

The scene where all the monsters from e
Jun 17, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, japan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bryan Clark
Wow. Its not often I don't finish a book I start but I got about 1/3 of the way through 'Paprika' and just couldn't take any more. This is, hands down, the worst book I have read for some years. For starters it wins a prize for being the single least elegant translation I have ever read, coming across like incoherent flat pack furniture instructions. Add to this abysmal construction, misogyny, utter lack of characterisation, and a hackneyed plot - remember that awful Jennifer Lopez film 'The Cel ...more
Jul 27, 2011 rated it it was ok
This has to be the silliest book I've read in a very long time. The characters were cartoonish, the plot disastrously constructed and the basic idea ruined as a result. There's a lot more Yasutaka Tsutsui could've done with his premise.
I do wonder, however, how much Paprika was affected by its translation. It didn't 'read' particularly well, and I found myself getting more and more frustrated as the book went on. I'd like to know what Japanese readers have made of it in its original form.
Oh, and
Apr 15, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 26, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
After plodding through 85 pages of office politics, dull PR conferences, and uninteresting dream sequences at a psychic research institute, I lost interest. The premise of the book intrigued me when I bought it, but a big reveal about the identity of the dream detective Paprika was handled clumsily, I had very little sense of who the characters were and why I should care about them, the prose was wooden, and there seemed to be a whole soap opera's worth of bustling microdrama going on without an ...more
Jay  The Crippled God
I can detect a lot of grammar as well as translation mistakes and I am not sure whether I can pin it all on the translator, even if he had huge hand in it.
This book wasn't a waste of time and I am enjoying having adding it to my reading list, but at the same time I can't say it was an enjoyable ride. The ending was beyond draggy ( dragging ) and I can happily rejoice knowing that I have finished this book.

Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody, anybody
Amazingly good. Tsutsui plays with your mind yet you don't feel robbed, you feel all the ups and downs as the story comes and goes and gets confusing, yet you will also understand somethings that the characters didn't and you will be left with questions that they never asked.
I would surely recommend it (yes, not the best review, but to give a full extent review, for me, would be to try and spoil a flavor that only Tsutsui could leave in your mouth).
Feb 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A surreal and thought-provoking look at sanity, dreaming, and the politics of scientific research. Driver's translation is sometimes clumsy, as is Tsutui's handling of sexual content. It's not clear how much the former affected my perception of the latter. The book gave me a better understanding of Satoshi Kon's movie adaptation (which is overall the superior version). ...more
Brice James
The misogyny, homophobia, and Freudian fixations sour this dream, and the alarming number of casual rape scenes turns it into a nightmare.
Let me start off by saying that the premise of this book is absolutely brilliant: surrealist, psychoanalytic sci-fi, which is something that I personally adore. A team of two brilliant scientists working on dream therapy reach a breakthrough in their research, developing the DC Mini – a tiny device that allows you to share your dreams and slip into other people’s dreams once attached to your head. Dream therapy is still a controversial thing in the land of psychoanalysis; even so, lead scientist ...more
Mar 03, 2013 rated it liked it
there are things i love tsutsui's writing for, and although this is an early book of his (at least in terms of what's been translated into English), those are all thoroughly on display: his very badly-behaving, un-Japanese characters; the weird and wild situations they get it; the utter disregard for any sort of verisimilitude.

then there are things that make me a little squeamish. more on those in a bit.

in this book, tsutsui's heroine is a shrink who is in line for the Nobel prize in medicine.
Jan 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
Atsuko Chiba, beautiful and brilliant psychotherapist, is one of the best and brightest working at the Institute for Psychiatric Research. She deftly uses the cutting edge psychotherapy devices that allow therapists to view patients dreams and even insert themselves into or manipulate those dreams to aid therapy. When helping private, rich clients, Atsuko disguises herself as Paprika to conduct therapy sessions in secret. Trouble starts when someone steals one of the psychotherapy devices to use ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, gift-from-dyl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
John Pappas
Some interesting ideas here, especially if taken as a metaphor for the collective dream state of the internet and social media technologies, but a shabby plot, weak characterization and a terrible opening scene that almost causes the book to crash before it gets off the ground severely detract from the exploration of the important ideas manifested here.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it liked it
This book was a pleasant surprise. These types of books are not my normal genre. I read this for one of my other book clubs and was really engrossed. It did start off slow but once you read the first 150 pages it picks up and is hard to put down. If you want to try something different read this
Ankit Dhakal
The love of Satoshi Kon's animated movie Paprika brought me to this book. The book pulled me like a magnet. Contrary to many reviews here, it was not a slow read for me, and I could not put it down. As I read the book, sometimes it felt "Wow, brilliant!", while at times, it was "Bland and Regressive!" Such a contrast puts me in two minds and I have a hard time rating it. So, I leave it unrated.

From the very beginning, I found that it was different from the anime. Despite dreams being the major t
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Yasutaka Tsutsui (筒井 康隆) is a Japanese novelist, science fiction author, and actor. Along with Shinichi Hoshi and Sakyo Komatsu, he is one of the most famous science fiction writers in Japan. His Yumenokizaka bunkiten won the Tanizaki Prize in 1987. He has also won the 1981 Izumi Kyoka award, the 1989 Kawabata Yasunari award, and the 1992 Nihon SF Taisho Award. In 1997, he was decorated as a Cheva ...more

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“Don't you think dreams and the Internet are similar? They are both areas where the repressed conscious mind vents.” 29 likes
“His eyes were like black obsidian holes that threatened to suck everything in. Hypnotized, Atsuko couldn’t help being drawn down to his face. “Ah. You poor thing. You poor thing.” 1 likes
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