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The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories

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A major new anthology of great Japanese short stories introduced by Haruki Murakami This fantastically varied and exciting collection celebrates the great Japanese short story collection, from its origins in the nineteenth century to the remarkable practitioners writing today. Curated by Jay Rubin (who has himself freshly translated several of the stories) and introduced by A major new anthology of great Japanese short stories introduced by Haruki Murakami This fantastically varied and exciting collection celebrates the great Japanese short story collection, from its origins in the nineteenth century to the remarkable practitioners writing today. Curated by Jay Rubin (who has himself freshly translated several of the stories) and introduced by Haruki Murakami this is a book which will be a revelation to many of its readers. Short story writers already well-known to English-language readers are all included - Tanizaki, Akutagawa, Murakami, Mishima, Kawabata, Yoshimoto - but also many surprising new finds. From Tsushima Yuko's 'Flames' to Sawanishi Yuten's 'Filling Up with Sugar', from Hoshi Shin'ichi's 'Shoulder-Top Secretary' to Yoshimoto Banana's 'Bee Honey', The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories is filled with fear, charm, beauty and comedy.


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A major new anthology of great Japanese short stories introduced by Haruki Murakami This fantastically varied and exciting collection celebrates the great Japanese short story collection, from its origins in the nineteenth century to the remarkable practitioners writing today. Curated by Jay Rubin (who has himself freshly translated several of the stories) and introduced by A major new anthology of great Japanese short stories introduced by Haruki Murakami This fantastically varied and exciting collection celebrates the great Japanese short story collection, from its origins in the nineteenth century to the remarkable practitioners writing today. Curated by Jay Rubin (who has himself freshly translated several of the stories) and introduced by Haruki Murakami this is a book which will be a revelation to many of its readers. Short story writers already well-known to English-language readers are all included - Tanizaki, Akutagawa, Murakami, Mishima, Kawabata, Yoshimoto - but also many surprising new finds. From Tsushima Yuko's 'Flames' to Sawanishi Yuten's 'Filling Up with Sugar', from Hoshi Shin'ichi's 'Shoulder-Top Secretary' to Yoshimoto Banana's 'Bee Honey', The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories is filled with fear, charm, beauty and comedy.

30 review for The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This is a collection of both well known to me Japanese authors, as well as those I have not heard of before. I enjoyed this collection, with an introduction by a favorite author, Murakami. As always, I enjoyed some more than others.

  2. 5 out of 5

    L S Popovich

    Since I've read every word Haruki Murakami has published in English I felt obligated to read his introduction once it showed up in the preview on Amazon. People saying "Haruki Murakami is my favorite author" has now become a cliche. But cliches can sometimes be true. His introduction was nice and long and juicy. My impression of the collection of stories was that they were chosen, as Mr. Rubin explains, for the casual reader. Maybe it's pretentious but I consider myself more than a casual reader Since I've read every word Haruki Murakami has published in English I felt obligated to read his introduction once it showed up in the preview on Amazon. People saying "Haruki Murakami is my favorite author" has now become a cliche. But cliches can sometimes be true. His introduction was nice and long and juicy. My impression of the collection of stories was that they were chosen, as Mr. Rubin explains, for the casual reader. Maybe it's pretentious but I consider myself more than a casual reader of Japanese fiction. I have an entire bookcase devoted to Japanese literature. I like to imagine what stories I would have picked if I had the opportunity to compile an anthology of this kind. There are new translations, which are sorely needed in this day and age. Akutagawa's previously untranslated short story "General Kim" was my favorite inclusion. Out of Akutagawa's 300+ works only 77 have thus far been translated into English. Since he's one of my other favorite authors I've actually gone to extremely nerdy lengths to read them all. I wish Rubin would just translate all of Akutagawa already. And maybe Bakin while he's at it. I am glad that he put a lot of translating into this volume, but why include "Patriotism" and the first chapter of Sanshiro? Not only do they take up valuable space but they are available almost anywhere. I buy anthologies because they contain stories on the brink of obscurity. Where are all the translations of Hiromi Kawakami or Junnosuke Yoshiyuki? I would have liked to see something new from Ryu Murakami, who never gets anthologized but is one of the best Japanese writers of all time. I gave this book four stars because it was excellent, but it really could've gotten five. The two stories by Haruki are previously available, but luckily we get something new by Banana Yoshimoto and Akutagawa which save this collection, in my opinion, from being a rehashing. It's hard to find Kenji Nakagami and we are treated to a new story by Mieko Kawakami, which was appreciated, so while I would not recommend this for your shelf if you can only have one Japanese literature anthology - it's hard to beat the two volume Columbia anthology - I'd put it in my top 5 Japanese literature anthologies. Yes, I am that much of a geek that I would create a top five. Though this is a step in the right direction there's about 3000 miles of stepping left to do if we are ever going to get the most out of J. Lit. I keep asking myself, why can't I just read Japanese? Oh yeah, it's insanely difficult. Anyway, check it out if you are a fan.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    This book has taken me a while to read - not because it’s bad, but because I tend to read a few short stories between books. I can’t get into short story collections like a novel, I dip in and out of them over a period of time. This is actually one of the best collections that I have read. It has a very high hit rate - most short story collections are, for me, more miss than hit, but this is definitely the other way round. The stories vary from three pages to just over seventy. They are grouped This book has taken me a while to read - not because it’s bad, but because I tend to read a few short stories between books. I can’t get into short story collections like a novel, I dip in and out of them over a period of time. This is actually one of the best collections that I have read. It has a very high hit rate - most short story collections are, for me, more miss than hit, but this is definitely the other way round. The stories vary from three pages to just over seventy. They are grouped together in themes - Japan’s relationship with the West, disasters (natural and man made) and are not presented in chronological order, although there are a number of suggested reading orders and one of those is based around when the stories are set. I read them in theme order as presented in the book. There are a number of standout tales here. I adored the opening offering, “The Story Of Tomoda and Matsunaga” as well as the grim “Hell Screen” and a tale of people of lived in Hiroshima when the nuclear bomb fell. In fact, as I read the title list I have a distinct memory of most of the stories, most of the time if I looked back through a list of titles on a short story collection after reading it I would remember less than half as many would singularly fail to grab my attention. This is a collection based on the opinions of worthiness of one editor, and he has done a spectacular job. It is also a bonus that the introduction is written my Haruki Murakami, one of my favourite authors Japanese or otherwise, and two of his short stories are included here (oddly, two of the less memorable ones!) I hope there are more books like this. A similarly constructed collection about cultures that I don’t know all that well would be fascinating, such as China or Mexico. But definitely worth a look - it has reinvigorated my interest in short stories, unexpectedly so as this was not a book that I would necessarily have chosen to buy, it was an unexpected gift from a good friend.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Claire

    While this has taken me nearly a month to read, I have very much enjoyed it. And it's great the stories are both old (early 1900's) and new (as recent as 2012) My favourite sections was 'Dread' the three stories in this sections , 'Hell Screen', 'Filling Up with Sugar' and 'Kudan' were fascinating stories. Loved them. Other favourites include: 'Shoulder-Top Secretary', 'Patriotism' and 'Weather-Watching Hill' as well as 'The Smile of a Mountain Witch' Stories that will stay with me: 'UFO in Kushiro While this has taken me nearly a month to read, I have very much enjoyed it. And it's great the stories are both old (early 1900's) and new (as recent as 2012) My favourite sections was 'Dread' the three stories in this sections , 'Hell Screen', 'Filling Up with Sugar' and 'Kudan' were fascinating stories. Loved them. Other favourites include: 'Shoulder-Top Secretary', 'Patriotism' and 'Weather-Watching Hill' as well as 'The Smile of a Mountain Witch' Stories that will stay with me: 'UFO in Kushiro', there is a strangeness to this story that makes me at peace as well as curious. Also enjoyed: 'The Tale of the House of Physics', 'Factory Town' "The time when she had genuinely loved these things, however, long past. Now she merely loved the memory of having once loved them,and the place in her heart had been filled by more intense passions, by a more frenzied happiness" - from 'Patriotism'

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Pogan

    An absolutely sensational collection of short stories. It includes some of my favorite authors such as Mishima, Kawabata and Murakami but more importantly many authors I was unfamiliar with. I was a little disappointed that it didn't include one of my all-time favorites Kenzaburo Oe but that doesn't take anything away from just how good this book is. It opened a whole new field of authors that I can now read by giving a sample of the work they do. The translations were incredible and I felt that An absolutely sensational collection of short stories. It includes some of my favorite authors such as Mishima, Kawabata and Murakami but more importantly many authors I was unfamiliar with. I was a little disappointed that it didn't include one of my all-time favorites Kenzaburo Oe but that doesn't take anything away from just how good this book is. It opened a whole new field of authors that I can now read by giving a sample of the work they do. The translations were incredible and I felt that they were able to convey the feeling and intent of the authors and also the poetry of the writing. This has got to be one of the finest books I've ever read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    José Almeida

    outra belíssima surpresa oriental. com edição de jay rubin e um curioso prefácio de haruki murakami, neste lançamento recente são reunidos quase quarenta contos de autores japoneses - agrupados não cronologicamente mas sim por temas (o japão e o ocidente, homens e mulheres, natureza e memória, guerreiros leais, vida moderna, desastres, etc) - num conjunto representativo do que melhor se escreveu no japão em termos de narrativa curta. abre com uma quase novela de junichiro tanizaki e não foram esq outra belíssima surpresa oriental. com edição de jay rubin e um curioso prefácio de haruki murakami, neste lançamento recente são reunidos quase quarenta contos de autores japoneses - agrupados não cronologicamente mas sim por temas (o japão e o ocidente, homens e mulheres, natureza e memória, guerreiros leais, vida moderna, desastres, etc) - num conjunto representativo do que melhor se escreveu no japão em termos de narrativa curta. abre com uma quase novela de junichiro tanizaki e não foram esquecidos ryunosuke akutagawa, yasunari kawabata, yukio mishima, kenji nakagami, haruki murakami, mieko kawakami, fumiko enchi, banana yoshimoto, soseki natsume, entre muitos outros. algumas das histórias constituíram uma revelação, pois desconhecia que cert_s autor_s tivessem escrito contos. com edição cuidada, capa dura, bom papel e 500 págs, os cerca de 20€ que dei por ele na book depository (portes incluídos) foram quase uma pechincha.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emmett Mottl

  8. 4 out of 5

    Duncan Chappell

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    Looking back at the books I have read recently has left me a little disappointed, so I thought "why not find something classic to pull me out of this funk?"... I just downloaded this collection to my iPad. If I cannot find something surprising here, the problem lies in me.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ella Eyckmans

  11. 4 out of 5

    Callum

    Sweet, powerful short stories - with Japanese translations - allowing for bilinguals to test out their knowledge. Would recommend.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Srinath Sundareswaran

  13. 5 out of 5

    Theyoungdeer

  14. 4 out of 5

    Raluca Nagy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Hayden Cole-Rajotte

  16. 5 out of 5

    Birta Þórhallsdóttir

  17. 4 out of 5

    Richard

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Upton

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bianca

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  21. 4 out of 5

    Philip

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pauline

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ali-pie

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shivani

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jorien

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tom

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laurence Green

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tom

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