Jim Grimsley's Reviews > Memoirs of a Polar Bear

Memoirs of a Polar Bear by Yōko Tawada
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it was ok

This is one of those stories that appeals to the intellect, an exercise in cleverness, of which I am rarely very fond. In the case of this book, the writing moves forward in terms of instinct, and one page will often contradict the next; polar bears speak and read when convenient, don't when not. The reader is not supposed to care about any of this due to the value of it all. Or something of the sort. There are moments of wry enjoyment, as when the panda in the third section ridicules Knut for speaking of himself in the third person. Knut's is the most pleasing part of the book to me, given that there is some attempt to write about character and a hint of narrative takes place. There is the showy stuff in which the writer comments on the writing through the device of having the characters write their autobiographies which turn out to be what we are reading, ta dah! The word boredom occurs quite often in the novel, never a good sign. The polar bears feel like Disney animatronics. The result is stultifying. Why should I feel any need to interpret a novel that is bored with being a novel? This kind of surreality compares so poorly with a novel like The Intuitionist, for instance, in which the merging of real and unreal works so well.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 19, 2020 – Shelved

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