Category: Other Asian 5 out of 5s

Banana Yoshimoto’s — Hardboiled/Hard luck & The Lake *****

Banana Yoshimoto’s — Hardboiled/Hard luck & The Lake *****

Hardboiled and Hard Luck are two novellas in one book. The first story has a supernatural element beginning with the story teller’s walk through a forest and arriving at her hotel in a small village. In the forest, she already has a sense that something strange is in the air. The second story finds Kuni in hospital on a ventilator with her sister remembering their past closeness and trying to come to terms with her eventual death. Continue reading “Banana Yoshimoto’s — Hardboiled/Hard luck & The Lake *****”

Han Kang’s — Human acts *****

Han Kang’s — Human acts *****

Through the voices of her characters, Han Kang recounts the Gwangju uprising against continued repressive South Korean governments from Park Chung-hee’s stronghold to Chun Doo-hwan — another army general who assassinated Park. The army is brought in and fires indiscriminately at demonstrators. Our journey begins with the collection of bodies and parents trying to identify their children. Decades later, we learn that the after effects of this tragedy still linger.

This is not a novel for the faint at heart. It hits hard with real facts, and the writing is powerful. I’m impressed by a translation that didn’t seem to water down the emotional repercussions or gory details.

Yangsze Choo’s — The ghost bride *****

Yangsze Choo’s — The ghost bride *****

Because Li’s father has lost his fortune in Malaysia, he reluctantly asks his daughter to become a ghost bride to a rich family whose son has recently died. While this is a strange arrangement, the marriage will mean she has a home for life.

This is a unique and strange tale of Li’s discovery of the spirit world around the secrets of both families.

Janice P. Nimura’s — Daughters of the samurai *****

Janice P. Nimura’s — Daughters of the samurai *****

Five Japanese girls were sent by their government to the U.S.A. in 1871 to learn Western ways. While they were raised traditionally at home, they grew up as typical schoolgirls in their new country. Three of the girls: Sutematsu, Shige and Ume; returned after ten years to try to change women’s education. Continue reading “Janice P. Nimura’s — Daughters of the samurai *****”