A History of Japan – A Lesson in Amnesia

The world war is a permanent wedge in history.  An indelible scar that should remind us all of human greed, paranoia, idealism and ideology. Whipping up frenzy in a closed society today seems easy and inevitable. Reading Shigeru Mizuki's detailed retelling of the war is harrowing. How individual incidents and choices of families, that are rationalized under mostly well intentioned... Continue Reading →

Scandal – Shusaku Endo

Reading Shusaku Endo's Scandal is a little like being the priest in a confession box. While the pious christian is spilling out his guilt and burning with doubt and shame, you sit bored in the other half of the confessional chamber stifling a yawn. The analogy is even more apt when you realize Endo is a devout... Continue Reading →

Junichiro Tanizaki’s Diary Chronicles

The Key and Diary of a Mad Old Man employ diary entries to chronicle the writers' pursuit of sensuality. They offer ample lascivious thrills that one would not be hard pressed not to look beyond the fantastic struggles of the characters and the psychological games that sex involves. But these are classics. They are penned by... Continue Reading →

1/3 Murakami, 1/3 Johnson, 2/3 Rain

1/3 rd Murakami There is an Indian author named Chetan Bhagat. A newly popular writer with simplistic stereotypical stories that do not warrant much attention other than to calibrate maturity levels of readers. Not exactly the deepest fellow doing the rounds in Indian Literature, if you catch my drift. Haruki Murakami reminds me of Chetan Bhagat. Emo kids, mysterious... Continue Reading →

Junichiro Tanizaki’s Naomi – Culture Hilarity

"As Japan grows increasingly cosmopolitan, Japanese and foreigners are eagerly mingling with one another; all sorts of new doctrines and philosophies are being introduced; and both men and women are adopting up-to-date Western fashions. No doubt, the times being what they are, the sort of marital relationship that we've had, unheard of until now, will... Continue Reading →

Seven Japanese Tales of Taboos and Excesses

Junichiro Tanizaki is a writer of extremes cloaked in simplicity. In these short stories there is a slow burn build up of noble emotions without letup. Love, humility, motherhood, devotion are all explored and carried beyond the realms of comfort. As readers, we read on with dread because it now flirts with boundaries of suggested... Continue Reading →

In The Miso Soup – Ryu Murakami

The Other Murakami Ryu's work, unlike Haruki's, is not generally described with adjectives like lyrical and epic. Try more like lurid and nightmarish. The kind that make you want to stop reading but grotesquely carry on reading.  I picked up In the Miso Soup for a quick read at Kinokuniya as a filler before I... Continue Reading →

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Nicole Higginbotham-Hogue

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