I am reading the third book of my 2018 reading challenge! My challenge was to read a book per month, and I am well ahead of schedule.
The book I chose is 「彼女がその名を知らない鳥たち」by 沼田まほかる (ぬまたまほかる) There is a film adaption which trailer you can watch here:
To be honest, I may not have bought this book if I had watched the trailer before. I was expecting some kind of psychological thriller where we don’t know if the protagonist is persecuted or suffering from paranoïa… but this story seems to be mainly a love story.
This book is clearly above my level. The opening chapter was difficult, but opening chapters usually are, and I always need some time to get into a story. Therefore I persevered and reached the 1/4 of the book… and it is still challenging!🤯
There are passages that I understand well and others that leave me behind. To be more precise, I feel more or less comfortable with narrative passages, but some of the dialogues give me the impression I never learnt Japanese 😱 … I understood the reason for my confusion on page 56 when the sister of our protagonist Towako talks about using the 大阪弁, the dialect of Osaka.
So that’s why I don’t understand the dialogues… When the main protagonists, Towako and Jinji, talk to one another, they use the Kansai dialect… with which I am not at all familiar. I feel like I am facing two options: either I accept to miss things in the novel and just go through the dialogues without understanding everything or I work my way through this…
To be honest, I still don’t know how I will read this novel. I understand very well the other dialogues when Towako is speaking to other characters using standard Japanese, so I am tempting to just continue reading without bothering. On the other hand, missing the subtility of the “confrontations” between the two main characters would be a shame…
Anyway, to say a word about the setting, the main character is a young woman called Towako. She is living with a man, Jinji, she finds disgusting but depends on him for a living. Obsessed by the memories of her former lover, she leads an idle life, succumbing to depression.
To be honest, I am still not entirely convinced by this novel, but of course, this may be linked to the fact that I don’t understand everything and can’t read it comfortably. What I can say is that I feel no sympathy whatsoever for Towako but find the character of Jinji extremely interesting.
With these mixed feelings, I will go on reading this challenging book and post my review as soon as I/if I can finish it.