Brilliance of the Moon

Brilliance of the Moon
, ,
, Book # 3
Riverhead Books
June 3rd 2004
Paperback
346
English
February 7, 2022 February 25, 2022
, ,

A beautiful, haunting evocation of the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's imagination, this thrilling follow-up to Grass for His Pillow and Across the Nightingale Floor delves deeper into the complex loyalties that bind its characters from birth. Filled with adventure and surprising twists of plot and fortune, this final volume travels beyond the Three Countries, to the outside influences that threaten to intrude upon this isolated realm.


About the book

Last book in the first trilogy of the Tales of the Otori series. Takeo and Kaede got married without Arai Daiichi’s permission and this unleashes his anger. In addition, the noble Fujiwara, a great friend of Arai, considered himself to be Kaede’s fiancé and therefore feels betrayed by the woman. If we add Takeo’s uncles who don’t recognise him as the heir of the noble Shigero, Takeo faces a tough battle. But a prophecy awaits him: “You will have to fight five battles to obtain peace: four you will win, one you will lose”. And it seems to come true. But what became of Yuki’s son? Will he meet his father?

Continue reading “Brilliance of the Moon”

Grass for His Pillow

Grass for His Pillow
, ,

, Book # 2
Riverhead Books
August 11th 2003
Paperback
344
English
February 2, 2022 February 6, 2022
, ,

Praised for its epic scope and descriptive detail, Across the Nightingale Floor, the first book in the Tales of the Otori series, was an international bestseller and critical success, named by the London Times as "the most compelling novel to have been published this year." With Grass for His Pillow, Book Two, we return to the medieval Japan of Lian Hearn's creation—a land of harsh beauty and deceptive appearances.In a complex social hierarchy, amid dissembling clans and fractured allegiances, there is no place for passionate young love. The orphan Takeo has been condemned to work as an assassin—an enforced occupation that his father sacrificed his own life to escape. Meanwhile, Takeo’s beloved Shirakawa Kaede, heir to the Murayama and alone in the world, must find a way to unify the domain she has inherited, as she fights off the advances of would-be suitors and hopes against fading hope that Takeo will return to her...


About the book

Second book in the Otori Saga series. Here, we find Takeo and Kaede divided after their night together. He followed the Tribe and is hidden for a while because he was wanted by Arai. She returns to her feud, meets her grown-up sisters together with her father and tries to establish her dominion over her lands. But she is a woman, she cannot rule for her husband. And she isn’t married or maybe she is? To hide Takeo’s pregnancy, she claims that she is Shigeru’s wife and that immediately after the wedding he was killed.

Continue reading “Grass for His Pillow”

Sweet Bean Paste

あん
,

Oneworld Publications
February 6th 2013
Paperback
213
Japanese
Alison Watts
November 14, 2021 November 16, 2021
,

Sentaro has failed. He has a criminal record, drinks too much, and his dream of becoming a writer is just a distant memory. With only the blossoming of the cherry trees to mark the passing of time, he spends his days in a tiny confectionery shop selling dorayaki, a type of pancake filled with sweet bean paste.

But everything is about to change.

Into his life comes Tokue, an elderly woman with disfigured hands and a troubled past. Tokue makes the best sweet bean paste Sentaro has ever tasted. She begins to teach him her craft, but as their friendship flourishes, social pressures become impossible to escape and Tokue's dark secret is revealed, with devastating consequences.

Sweet Bean Paste is a moving novel about the burden of the past and the redemptive power of friendship. Translated into English for the first time, Durian Sukegawa's beautiful prose is capturing hearts all over the world.


About the book

Sentarou works in a doriyaki shop, typical Japanese sweets, but uses industrial bean jam. Perhaps this is why the sales are not good.

Tokue is a peculiar old woman, who understands what Sentarou’s problem is and she hopes to get hired by the young man for a very small sum of money. But the woman has deformed hands and a lot of scars and at first Sentarou is afraid that people will not want to eat his doriyaki for this reason.

However, he owes a debt to the store owner and after Tokue lets him taste her bean jam, he realises that he has no choice if he wants to pay off the debt as soon as possible he has to hire Tokue.

Continue reading “Sweet Bean Paste”

Snow Country

雪国 [Yukiguni]
,

Vintage
1948
eBook
175
Japanese
Edward G. Seidensticker
August 23, 2021 September 23, 2021
,

Nobel Prize recipient Yasunari Kawabata's Snow Country is widely considered to be the writer's masterpiece, a powerful tale of wasted love set amid the desolate beauty of western Japan.

At an isolated mountain hot spring, with snow blanketing every surface, Shimamura, a wealthy dilettante meets Komako, a lowly geisha. She gives herself to him fully and without remorse, despite knowing that their passion cannot last and that the affair can have only one outcome. In chronicling the course of this doomed romance, Kawabata has created a story for the ages, a stunning novel dense in implication and exalting in its sadness.


About the book

Snow Country is a novel set in Japan in 1930. The plot is not complicated, it is almost absent but what stands out in this story is the setting. We are in fact in the north of the largest island of Japan where it snows a lot during the winter and the style of the book, is a bit aseptic, like the environment.

Continue reading “Snow Country”

Nagasaki

Nagasaki
,

Gallucci
July 30th 2015
eBook
127
Japanese
--
August 18, 2021 August 21, 2021
,

One of the greatest Japanese authors, never published before in Italy, relives the bombing of Nagasaki in August 1945. A memory that continues to burn in the bodies and minds of survivors and is renewed with fear of modern nuclear accidents. "The darkness vanished, making room for a light between blue and red, the color of hydrangea when it begins to bloom. It wasn't hot, it wasn't cold. It looked like a ghostly light as solid as a wall "

Translated here for the first time in Italian, Kyoko Hayashi is an absolute reference point for the memory of the atomic bomb and the elaboration of that event of absolute destruction. She the author has always considered herself a "witness of August 9" and as such she has taken on the narrative of the nuclear holocaust so that she does not sink into oblivion and maintain her value as a warning for future generations. In the short story "The Two Tomb Signs" the facts of Nagasaki are seen through the story of two teenage girls, Yòko and Wakako. "The place of the rite" retraces the days following the bombing to cover a span of thirty years. "Il jarattolo" tells of the survivors living with the terror of the consequences of the atomic bomb, while "II crop" expresses fears for the contamination generated by the civil use of nuclear power.


About the book

The book is a collection of four short stories, plus a note from the author (please read the note) and a note from the curator of the book. The stories are: Two Grave Markers, The Empty Can, Ritual of Death and “The Harvest” not translated into English. The first is a heartbreaking tale of two friends struck by the atomic bomb, the second is the story of a group of friends who years later find themselves at their old school and remember one of their friends who always kept a tin can with her after the atomic bomb, the third is a first-person story of a survivor and the fourth differs a lot from the common thread of the atomic bomb because it speaks of the Tokaimura disaster of ’99 (or rather it is inspired, because I don’t remember reading this name in the story but most likely if there were the name, I didn’t connect it since I didn’t know what happened).

Now, where do I start? I have so much to say that my mind is full of confusion.

Continue reading “Nagasaki”