Month: July 2020

Book review: 『予知夢』 by Keigo Higashino

Introduction Title: 『予知夢』 (よちむ)Author: Keigo HIGASHINO (東野 圭吾)Published by 文春文庫270 pages This collection of five short stories is the second book in the Galileo series. The short stories were first published between 1998 and 2000 in the magazine オール読物 (よみもの). Review This second book in the Galileo series is slightly different from the first one, 『探偵ガリレオ』. In my review of this first volume, I said that physics-related explanations were present in each story, and that they never really managed to trigger my interest nor to really convince me. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the stories in 『予知夢』 have taken a different direction. The scientific elements are dramatically reduced. Instead of presenting us with a problem that is apparently impossible and explain it with science, the short stories in 『予知夢』 present us with apparently supernatural phenomenons and explain them with logic, rationalism and deductions. I found this book extremely addictive, I have read one short story a day, completely putting aside my other books. I love the theme of supernatural elements, and how it is explained …

Inhae reads the news: July 2020

This month’s topics are: Tokyo court rejects a damage lawsuit by a victim of the Eugenic Protection Law Yuriko Koike re-elected as Governor of Tokyo Coronavirus cases in US military bases in Okinawa Topic 1: Tokyo court rejects a damage lawsuit by a victim of the Eugenic Protection Law I first learned about the Eugenic Protection Law in Japan two years ago, when I was working on the news for my blog. I was very shocked to learn that 1- there had been such a law in Japan, 2- it was revoked only in 1996 (!) and 3- that victims were just beginning to get compensations. Established in 1948, the Eugenic Protection Law’s purpose was to prevent the birth of “inferior descendants”. Around 25,000 persons thought to have “hereditary” diseases that could lead to the birth of “inferior” children have been sterilised. Among them, around 16,500 people never gave their consent. Some were forcibly sterilised, others were deceived into having the surgery (many were in their teens when it happened). Several victims have said that …

Book review: 『探偵ガリレオ』 by Keigo Higashino

Introduction Title: 『探偵ガリレオ』 (たんていがりれお)Author: Keigo HIGASHINO (東野 圭吾)Published by 文春文庫330 pages This book is a collection of 5 short stories all initially published for the magazine オール讀物 between 1996 and 1998. This book is also the first installment in the Galileo series, but even though several books of the series are translated in English, this opening title has not been translated. Review Reading Keigo Higashino after quite a long time really feels good. I am always amazed at how good his short stories are. Even in a reduced number of pages you get all the thrill of a good crime novel. The short stories of 『探偵ガリレオ』 all follow a similar pattern with detective Kusanagi investigating a murder case and asking for his friend’s advice, the physician Yukawa, whom Kusanagi’s chief calls Galileo. All the stories and cases have a scientific element to them, usually related to how the murder was committed but not exclusively. This element explains the necessity for Kusanagi to seek Yukawa’s advice, and it also distinguishes the Galileo series from Higashino’s other books. …

Book review: 『愛がなんだ』by Mitsuyo Kakuta

Introduction Title: 『愛がなんだ』(あいがなんだ)Author: Mitsuyo KAKUTA (角田 光代)Published by 角川文庫218 pages Mitsuyo Kakuta has written an impressive amount of books, including novels, essays, translations and children’s books. She won the Naoki Prize in 2004 for her novel 『対岸の彼女』, translated into English by Wayne P. Lammers under the title Woman on the Other Shore. 『愛がなんだ』was first published in 2003 and adapted into a film in 2019 (director: Rikiya Imaizumi). Review Teruko is in love with Mamoru and always makes herself available for him, even if this means cancelling other activities with friends or absent herself from work. I immediately loved Teruko and felt an immediate sympathy for her. Rather than identifying myself with the protagonist, I felt like a friend of her and really wanted to bump into the story and tell her to stop acting like she was! I enjoyed the story and I found that the depiction of Teruko was very well done. However, I would have liked the novel better if it had gone into a more profound study of character to understand why …

Book review: 『駐在日記』 by Yukiya Shoji

Introduction Title: 『駐在日記』 (ちゅうざいにっき)Author: Yukiya SHOJI (小路 幸也)Published by 中公文庫253 pages Yukiya Shoji is a prolific author of fiction who wrote several mystery novels including the series “Tokyo Bandwagon” (東京バンドワゴン). 『駐在日記』 was first published in 2017 and got its first pocket edition this year (2020). There is a second volume entitled 『あの日にかえりたい』(published in 2019), which seems to be the direct following of 『駐在日記』. It is certainly better to read 『駐在日記』 first, as it introduces the characters and the setting. Review 『駐在日記』 is a short novel divided into four chapters. We follow the young couple Hana and Shuhei as they settle in the small and rural Kijiyama in 1975. Shuhei has been posted here as policeman and the couple moves in the police substation (駐在所). Hana decides to write a journal about their life there. Each chapter is devoted to a different case, but the story follows a chronological order and the book cannot be read as a collection of short stories. I bought this book because I love mystery novels and I also enjoy reading …

June wrap-up and reading challenge update!

I haven’t read that much in June compared to the previous months, but I still managed to complete my June challenge of 4 books. I read two books of the Galileo series, one children’s book with furigana and one novelisation. Finished! Galileo series 2 and 3: 『予知夢』 and 『容疑者Xの献身』 by Keigo Higashino (東野圭吾) I found both books extremely addictive. Contrary to the first book of the series, there were almost no scientific parts in 『予知夢』 and none in 『容疑者Xの献身』, which made the books easier to read and also more interesting to me. 『容疑者Xの献身』 is the first book of contemporary crime fiction that I re-read. I enjoyed it more in Japanese than when I first read it in translation because I knew the characters better: I have already read not only two books, but 10 short stories with Kusanagi and Yukawa. Unfortunately, the first two books of the series are not translated into French (nor English), so readers who read The Devotion of Suspect X meet Kusanagi and Yukawa for the first time. I will go on with the …