Christy Lau's Reviews > Of Dogs and Walls

Of Dogs and Walls by Yūko Tsushima
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really liked it
bookshelves: non-english

Penguin has arguably been the greatest definer and redefiner of classics in recent decades, and I am forever grateful that they continue to push beyond the olde-worlde seams of the Western canon to translate and display in pride of place authors from all over the globe.

Of Dogs and Walls presents two never-before-translated stories, both detailing dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships with an Impressionist hand. Siblings with developmental disabilities – and the consequent discrimination their family members must face – are also recurring motifs.

The Watery Realm: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Of all the characters (let’s be honest, real people too) in the world, I have the least respect for parents who impose their own insecurities and failed ambitions on their children. The Watery Realm slips between the past and the present, the perspectives of one such parent and her child, encapsulating the infuriating injustice and the maddening melodrama so lucidly, I constantly reeled between my old friends Anger and Disgust.



Perhaps the vehemence of my emotions should suggest dislike. On the contrary, I consider it proof of Tsushima’s sublime, superlatively evocative prose. The Watery Realm is a mesmerising, at times even cutting, read.

Of Dogs and Walls: ⭐⭐⭐
I enjoyed this story less. The language was just as limpid, the story just as surreal. Yet it was less personally impactful. The idea of slipping through concrete (and societal, I suppose) barriers was somewhat stirring – but only momentarily so.

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My other Penguin Modern reviews:
Three Japanese Short Stories
Four Russian Short Stories
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Quotes Christy Liked

Yūko Tsushima
“Living right in the heart of Tokyo itself is quite like living in the mountains – in the midst of so many people, one hardly sees anyone.”
Yūko Tsushima, Of Dogs and Walls


Reading Progress

March 20, 2018 – Started Reading
March 20, 2018 – Shelved
March 20, 2018 –
page 12
22.64% "The Watery Realm: The philosophastic degree to which our protagonist overthinks brings to mind the topical meme of the epic eye-rolling Chinese journalist."
March 20, 2018 –
page 34
64.15% "Ah, so dysfunctional mother-daughter relationships are the theme. Except while both daughters keep insisting they can never understand their mothers, they seem to burst into quite comprehensive (if somewhat clunky) expositions all the same."
March 20, 2018 – Shelved as: non-english
March 20, 2018 – Finished Reading

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