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General > Junnosuke Yoshiyuki

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message 1: by Carol (last edited Jan 19, 2020 07:36PM) (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1223 comments In another group, someone posted the following: "earlier today I came across an interesting-looking Japanese author called Junnosuke Yoshiyuki - might be worth adding to the list. Is anyone familiar?"

https://www.jlpp.go.jp/en/works/autho...

Which made me wonder. Why haven't I ever heard of Yoshiyuki? I can't recall once anyone in this group mentioning him, or his name on any of the many, many Japanese lit lists I've reviewed. He won several awards. He's a contemporary of Mishima and several other authors whom we routinely mention.

Here's an article, "Writers no one reads ...." that highlights key novels.

https://writersnoonereads.tumblr.com/...

Was there some scandal or reason why he's dropped out of favor, or should we rescue him from obscurity, at least among ourselves?


message 2: by Christie (new)

Christie (firerabbit830) | 23 comments Thank you for bringing this author and his works to our, or atleast my, attention! I too hadn't heard of him, mentioned in the forum as far as I can tell, or otherwise...so THANKS! I am certainly curious to hear what others in the group think/know/have to say on this topic.


message 3: by Christian (new)

Christian (comeauch) | 230 comments Carol wrote: "Was there some scandal or reason why he's dropped out of favor, or should we rescue him from obscurity, at least among ourselves? "

Sounds like a mission ;)


message 4: by Alan (new)

Alan | 453 comments Absolutely, Carol, yes!

To be honest, I hadn't come across the name before, either. Having had a quick look, maybe not the easiest or cheapest books to get hold of, but certainly worth a punt for our next round of voting - or does he get a bye straight into the next round? :-)


message 5: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1223 comments Alan wrote: "Absolutely, Carol, yes!

To be honest, I hadn't come across the name before, either. Having had a quick look, maybe not the easiest or cheapest books to get hold of, but certainly worth a punt for..."


I’m still mystified as to why we haven’t come across his name before, but sure, I’m in favor of a bye if we can find one that’s reasonably accessible and of the “if you only read Yoshiyuki, it should be X” variety.

Should we send someone to rescue Bill? I’m a little worried that only a KGB kidnapping would have kept him from commenting on this topic by now...


message 6: by Alan (new)

Alan | 453 comments As far as I can see, there are 3 books available (in English translation) by Junnosuke Yoshiyuki:

A novel: The Dark Room, but this seems to be out print (2nd hand copies available from most places, but not cheap)

And two collections of short stories: Fair Dalliance: Fifteen Stories and Toward Dusk and Other Stories, both of which seem to be in print.

Given we have our reading sorted until the end of May (!), I guess we have plenty time to discuss which, if any, people want to tackle.


message 7: by Bill (new)

Bill Johnston | 699 comments Carol: Unfortunately, GR doesn't email me when someone starts a new topic in this group :)

I read The Dark Room, and gave it one star because it was mediocre to begin with and the the sex became explicit and disturbing in the later chapters. It wasn't particularly expensive second-hand.

I have a copy of Toward Dusk and Other Stories, and have read the introduction. The translator comments on how slimy and grotesque the author's view of the world is, and how he's not for everyone. I won't be buying Fair Dalliance until after I read Toward Dusk.


message 8: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1223 comments Bill wrote: "Carol: Unfortunately, GR doesn't email me when someone starts a new topic in this group :)

I read The Dark Room, and gave it one star because it was mediocre to begin with and the the sex became e..."


Bill - I'm glad you're okay lol.

The sex and grotesquery seem odd for someone writing mid-century. This explains perhaps why he isn't put on all of the requisite lists regardless of his awards/medals case.

I'll see if I find any worthwhile or insightful interviews or analyses before we collectively gallop off on a whim at the risk of potentially better reading.


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1223 comments Here's his obituary in The Independent.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/pe...

From Kurodahan Press, publisher of both Toward Dusk and Other Stories and The Dark Room (excerpt):

"...Toward Dusk, which in 1978 won the Noma Prize, Japan's highest literary award, is considered to be Yoshiyuki's best work in the rensaku form: a series of stories or chapters bound by common theme.

The story ostensibly revolves around Sasa, the middle-aged protagonist, his fascination with virginity and, in particular, his obsessive quest for an emotional purity in his mistress, Sugiko.

In many ways, the main theme is similar to that in The Dark Room (winner of the prestigious Tanizaki Prize; translated into English by John Bester). As the critic James Kirkup pointed out, "The postwar mood of disillusionment made Yoshiyuki see the love lives of men and women as fragile and unreliable, fleeting, irresponsible." Like Nakata in The Dark Room, Sasa also lives for his assignations. And, although (unlike Nakata) he is married with a daughter, his family life is empty and meaningless and his home simply somewhere to stay when he is not seeing his mistresses...."


https://www.kurodahan.com/wp/e/catalo...


message 10: by Alan (new)

Alan | 453 comments I say we go for it. Recommended by no less than Mishima Yukio. Toward Dusk and Other Stories would seem to be the obvious choice, by the looks of it (and it is still in print).

And why not challenge ourselves? Maybe we won't all like it. Maybe none of us will like it. But at least we will have grasped the nettle and expanded our horizons. And, thus, in doing so, proving we are still alive.
(Oops, maybe watched too many self-affirming movies lately!! :-)


message 11: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1223 comments Alan wrote: "I say we go for it. Recommended by no less than Mishima Yukio. Toward Dusk and Other Stories would seem to be the obvious choice, by the looks of it (and it is still in print).

And why not challe..."


Hence, why I try to hang out with folks like you who are fundamentally positive and sunshine-y. lol

I'm down for it. Will pick up a copy in February some time...


message 12: by Ian (new)

Ian Josh | 270 comments Is it still in print?

I’m only finding one copy for like 60 dollars.


message 13: by Alan (new)

Alan | 453 comments Amazon.uk has it for third party, £12.50 (although, actually, it looks like it might have gone Out of Print). Blackwell's Website has it as £12.50 also.


message 14: by Bill (new)

Bill Johnston | 699 comments $16 at amazon.com:
https://www.amazon.com/Toward-Other-S...

12.5 at amazon.co.uk:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Toward-Other...

There are cheap copies of The Dark Room on amazon.com, too. And someone said it wasn't.


message 15: by Ian (new)

Ian Josh | 270 comments Found a cheaper version... so annoying that amazon hasn’t perfect attaching all version to each other.


message 16: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1223 comments Ian wrote: "Found a cheaper version... so annoying that amazon hasn’t perfect attaching all version to each other."

Once something's out of print, it's particularly worth using different searches to find various ISBNs. I use ABE sometimes as a resource although the pricing is rarely beneficial once I find a different version.


message 17: by Alan (new)

Alan | 453 comments Carol, I'm with you on abebooks. I (usually) always check them. Looking now, they seem to have the best price on The Dark Room. For UK, second hand copies for under £10, inc. shipping from US, so might be cheaper for other folk in other countries!


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