Japanese Literature discussion

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Japanese literature in general > Where To Begin/Recommendations?

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message 1: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers | 14 comments In the interest of breathing some life into this group (I hate to see it so quiet!), can anyone recommend where to start with Kobo Abe? I am interested in reading him but feel a little overwhelmed by his catalogue.


message 2: by seb (new)

seb (oddrid) | 2 comments I just finished his The Ark Sakura and I enjoyed it (seriously, I finished it about 15 minutes ago!). It's about 300 pages and very readable. It's about an obese survivalist named Mole who builds a huge nuclear bomb shelter and invites people to come survive the apocalypse with him. As you can see, it starts off weird and it just gets weirder and weirder from there.

The Ark Sakura


message 3: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers | 14 comments Thanks, Sarah, I'll look into it!


message 4: by Marc (new)

Marc Adler (marcadler) | 25 comments A year late here, but "Woman in the Dunes" is one of the most gripping novels I've ever read, in any language. It's beyond harrowing. If you dream in the language of existentialism, it'll give you nightmares.


message 6: by D. (new)

D. Pow | 2 comments Woman in The Dunes is brilliant and unlike anything else. It kind of reminds me of Paul Bowles, weird, menacing, sensual.


message 8: by P. (new)

P. (shimizusan) | 8 comments Hi everyone, I'm new here and interested in japanese authors. Can anyone recommend a good crime fiction book, something in the vein of Natsuo Kirino?

I'm trying to discover new authors I haven't read yet. Thanks!


message 9: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers | 14 comments Zee wrote: "Hi everyone, I'm new here and interested in japanese authors. Can anyone recommend a good crime fiction book, something in the vein of Natsuo Kirino?

I'm trying to discover new authors I haven'..."


Miyabe's "The Devil's Whisper" was great fun.


message 10: by WitchyFingers (new)

WitchyFingers | 14 comments Okay - If I haven't already, I'd like to recommend Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura. It's quintessential Japanese literature. I read it last year on my summer vacation, and I am thinking about reading it again.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

As far as Abe is concerned I would just pick one and go with it. I started with his last book "Kangaroo Notebook". Although if you don't want to get into a novel I would recommend "Beyond the Curve". It is a collection of his short stories and I think would be a good place to start.


message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael | 51 comments Brad wrote: "As far as Abe is concerned I would just pick one and go with it. I started with his last book "Kangaroo Notebook". Although if you don't want to get into a novel I would recommend "Beyond the Curve..."
abe is at his best in woman in the dunes- only recently learned insects are an involving symbol / reality for the japanese, so that the character is an amateur etymologist is significant, is everyday, not weird. defines him as everyman.


message 13: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 03, 2010 05:05AM) (new)

I did not know about the significance of insects in Japanese Literature. I identified the entomologist as an everyman without this knowledge. Although I agree it is a well written book, "Woman in the Dunes" is not my favorite work by Abe.


message 14: by Michael (new)

Michael | 51 comments Brad wrote: "I did not know about the significance of insects in Japanese Literature. I identified the entomologist as an everyman without this knowledge. Although I agree it is a well written book, "Woman in t..."

probably partly as i have seen the film...


message 15: by Praj (new)

Praj I disliked Abe's 'Ark of Sakura'..thought he rushed with the whole plot.


message 16: by Ellie (new)

Ellie (elliearcher) I loved Woman in the Dunes-I have to read The Ark; Dunes is enough to give me nightmares still!


message 17: by Michael (new)

Michael Clark (mjclark) | 3 comments The film version of "Woman in the Dunes" is quite good as well, by the way. Worth a watch after you read it.


message 18: by Leonard (new)

Leonard (leonardseet) | 10 comments Woman in the Dunes is a haunting novel. It reminds me of Camus' The Plague, the sand replacing the plague as the threat.


message 19: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 93 comments Okay so we are trying to get this club revitalized. I will start by trying to place this thread up to the top. The people here are suggesting The Woman in the Dunes. I haven't read it. Do you want to start with that? Any other suggestions? The Woman in the Dunes by Kōbō Abe


message 20: by Ray (new)

Ray | 14 comments The Woman in the Dunes is an excellent place to start.

Another idea is the Housekeeper and the Professor


message 21: by Julie (new)

Julie (choxevani) | 1 comments Ray wrote: "The Woman in the Dunes is an excellent place to start.

Another idea is the Housekeeper and the Professor"


The Woman in the Dunes is on my read list. seeing it mentioned so many times here just reemphasizes my need to read the book!


message 22: by Ray (new)

Ray | 14 comments Jewel wrote: "Ray wrote: "The Woman in the Dunes is an excellent place to start.

Another idea is the Housekeeper and the Professor"

The Woman in the Dunes is on my read list. seeing it mentioned so many times ..."


Do - it is one of my favourite recent books. Not my normal type of book but a great find


message 23: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 93 comments Okay so let's make a decision. Let's start with The Woman in the Dunes. I am not the moderator of this group. The moderator hasn't been around for a long time. I don't know how to get a new one. How do we do that?


message 24: by Giuliana (new)

Giuliana | 10 comments I'm in! Just ordered online.

I will interrupt my current streak of novels and short stories by Kawabata (it's going to be tough).


message 25: by Paul (new)

Paul Dillon | 11 comments I enjoyed Woman in the Dunes. An unusual story.


message 26: by June (new)

June McCabe | 8 comments I also bought it!


message 27: by Tori (new)

Tori (tvaz) | 5 comments I'll find it and dust it off, I wrote a paper on it last year. :)


message 28: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 93 comments Okay so I'll try to divide our discussion up by chapters. I would like to have an ongoing discussion while reading the book, not just when we finish.


message 29: by Maire (new)

Maire (maires) | 1 comments thanks for doing this!


message 30: by Joanne (new)

Joanne | 93 comments I'm happy to do it. I'm still waiting for my copy of the book to come in at the library.

Anybody know how we can get a moderator to replace the one who hasn't been around? I guess we can just run this on our own for now.


message 31: by Levene (new)

Levene I have to order a copy. It is good of you to take charge of the group and get things moving again


message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Anyone kind enough to recommend some light reading for Japanese literature? Just a few short books to start, thank you :3


message 33: by Levene (new)

Levene I enjoyed this book very much, The Lake-Yasunari Kawabata.
Be sure to check the author name as there another book call the Lake by Banana Yoshimoto.


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