book review
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Book review: 『いたいのいたいの、とんでゆけ』by Sugaru Miaki

Introduction

Title: 『いたいのいたいの、とんでゆけ』
Author: Sugaru MIAKI (三秋縋)
Published by メディアワークス文庫
364 pages.

Sugaru Miaki is best known for the novel 『恋する寄生虫』 that has been adapted into a manga by ホタテユウキ and will get a film adaptation in 2021.

Review

22 year-old Mizuha kills a highschool student when drunk driving. However, his young victim has the power to put off distressful events, and Mizuha is ready to do anything to make up for the accident.

It took me a while to get into the novel, but once I did, I loved it more and more as the story unfolded.

I did not like the beginning of the novel because it had some similarities with Norwegian Wood, a book that I did not like despite its being such a famous novel. One thing that I was not a fan of in Norwegian Wood is that the protagonist is a rather dull and uninteresting character, yet all the women of the story feel attracted to him. Similarly, Mizuha is the kind of person who usually goes unnoticed but he still manages to draw the attention of his schoolmate and his beautiful neighbour. Some topics like correspondence or suicide were also similar to Murakami’s novel.

However, when the story kicks off after the car accident, the novel takes an unexpected turn of events. I thought it would mainly be a story about youth, love and depression (a little like Norwegian Wood), but the story suddenly turns into a thriller-like scenario with a revenge theme, mild gore scenes and some suspense.

The end was also surprising, changing tone again to come back to a more romantic line of story, but introducing some heavy topics like domestic violence and school bullying.

Overall, I find that this story was engrossing and entertaining, but at the same time, it also made me feel depressed at times. The end was not what I was expecting, and the book turned out not to be the relaxing read I thought it would be.

In the afterwords, the author writes: 『いたいのいたいの、とんでゆけ』は、二度と抜け出せない穴に落ちた人の物語でした。しかし僕はそれを単に薄暗い話としてではなく、元気の出る話として書いたつもりでいます。とてもそうは見えないかもしれませんけれど、でも、そうなのです。(p.364) I agree that it does not look like it at all… At least, I did not have this impression and felt quite sad when I closed the book.

『いたいのいたいの、とんでゆけ』 is a beautiful love story that deals with heavy topics and borrows from other genres like thriller and speculative fiction. It might not be a 薄暗い話 but it is not rose either. I do recommend it, but it might not be the best read if you feel depressed at the moment. Despite what the author says, I would not describe this novel as “元気の出る話”.

I will definitely try to get my hands on 『恋する寄生虫』!

2 Comments

  1. Hello Inhae!

    Firstly, thank you for the book review.

    I must say that I came to similar conclusions about Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood” and find it comforting that I wasn’t the only one with these overall sentiments. I’m glad this novel eventually captured your attention and had you engrossed in the end. After reading your review it’s quite curious how the author described his novel as “元気の出る話”, I suppose that is the joy of books!

    Since you read Japanese novels in their original text to improve your understanding of Japanese, do you find this method effective, and at what stage in your Japanese language study could someone adopt it?

    It is honestly such a lovely way to learn a language, as I am an avid book reader myself.

    I always found a sense of the book gets lost in translated editions, do you find this as well?

    Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello! Thank you for your comment!

      Yes, I think that reading has been a very effective method to improve my Japanese, and most of all, stay motivated throughout the years. I am a big fan of crime and detective fiction, and there are tons of mystery novels by Japanese authors that are not translated into English. Reading them in Japanese has been a steady source of motivation for me.

      I also find that the competence to read in a foreign language is something that improves very quickly with practice. The key is to practise regularly though, so finding a genre or authors you like is essential.

      I would say that you can read easy novels with a N3 level. jtalkonline.com has several good recommendations on her website (books by level and tips to read in Japanese). You can also find recommendations of first novels and book reviews on Japanesebookclubcafe.com.

      I agree that reading in translation is a different experience than reading the original work. And reading in a foreign language gives you access to all the novels that have not been translated (and will probably never be)!

      Good luck!

      Like

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