Now You’re One of Us by Asa Nonami

Publisher: Vertical
Publication Date:
18/12/2007
Length: 240 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Psychological Thriller | Gothic Horror

CW:  incest, non-consensual drug use

Blackwells.co.uk

All families have their own rituals, secrets, and credos, like a miniature religious cult; these quirks may elicit the mirth or mild alarm of guests, but the matter is rather more serious if you’re marrying into a household. If its’s a Japanese one with a history, the brace yourself: some surprising truths lurk around the corner.

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Top 5 Friday – Women in Translation

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, as I’ve had a lot of things on my plate of late, but I just had to do it for Women in Translation month! As many of you have probably realised by now, I am very passionate about translated fiction. So, I’ve compiled some of my favourite books by women in translation! See if you can spot the unintentional theme…!

Continue reading “Top 5 Friday – Women in Translation”

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, as I’ve had a lot of things on my plate of late, but I just had to do it for Women in Translation month! As many of you have probably realised by now, I am very passionate about translated fiction. So, I’ve compiled some of my favourite books by women in translation! See if you can spot the unintentional theme…!

Continue reading “Top 5 Friday – Women in Translation”

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Publisher: Granta Books
Publication Date:
02/05/2019
Length: 163 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Contemporary Fiction

CW: n/a

Blackwells.co.uk

Meet Keiko.

Keiko is 36 years old.

She’s never had a boyfriend, and she’s been working in the same supermarket for eighteen years.

Keiko’s family wishes she’d get a proper job. Her friends wonder why she won’t get married.

But Keiko knows what makes her happy, and she’s not going to let anyone come between her and her convenience store…

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Out by Natsuo Kirino

Publisher: Vintage Classics
Publication Date:
03/10/2019 (original publication: 15/07/1997)
Length: 528 pages
Genre:
Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction | Thriller

CW: sexual assault, domestic abuse, murder, body horror, graphic depictions of violence

Blackwells.co.uk

Natsuo Kirino’s novel tells a story of random violence in the staid Tokyo suburbs, as a young mother who works a night shift making boxed lunches brutally strangles her deadbeat husband and then seeks the help of her co-workers to dispose of the body and cover up her crime.

The ringleader of this cover-up, Masako Katori, emerges as the emotional heart of Out and as one of the shrewdest, most clear-eyed creations in recent fiction. Masako’s own search for a way out of the straitjacket of a dead-end life leads her, too, to take drastic action.

The complex yet riveting narrative seamlessly combines a convincing glimpse into the grimy world of Japan’s yakuza with a brilliant portrayal of the psychology of a violent crime and the ensuing game of cat-and-mouse between seasoned detectives and a group of determined but inexperienced criminals. Kirino has mastered a Thelma and Louise kind of graveyard humor that illuminates her stunning evocation of the pressures and prejudices that drive women to extreme deeds and the friendship that bolsters them in the aftermath.

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Heaven by Mieko Kawakami

Publisher: Picador
Publication Date:
10 June 2021
Length: 167 pages
Genre:
Literary Fiction | Translated Fiction | Japanese Fiction

CW: suicide ideation, self harm, violence, assault, sexual assault

Blackwells.co.uk

Hailed as a bold foray into new literary territory, Kawakami’s novel is told in the voice of a fourteen-year-old student subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of resisting, the boy suffers in complete resignation. The only person who understands what he is going through is a female classmate who suffers similar treatment at the hands of her tormenters.

The young friends meet in secret in the hopes of avoiding any further attention and take solace in each other’s company, completely unaware that their relationship has not gone unnoticed by their bullies . . .

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Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura

Firstly, a huge thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date:
22/04/2021
Length: 400 pages
Genre:
Fantasy | Translated Fiction | Magic Realism

CW: n/a

Blackwells.co.uk

How will you help your friend if she doesn’t want to be saved?

In a tranquil neighbourhood of Tokyo, seven teenagers wake to find the mirrors in their bedrooms are shining.

At a single touch, they are pulled from their lonely lives into a wondrous castle filled with watchful portraits, winding stairways and twinkling chandeliers. Hidden within the walls is a key which will grant one wish, and a set of clues with which to find it. But there’s a catch: they must leave the premises by five o’clock or suffer a fatal end.

And so they begin to unlock each other’s stories: how a boy is showered with more gadgets than love; how another suffers a painful and unexplained rejection, and how a girl lives in fear of her predatory stepfather.

As time passes, the devastating truth emerges: only those brave enough to share their stories will be saved.

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