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Archive for September, 2010

First, I hadn’t realized when I started reading that English translations were an abbreviated version.

Next, when reading books discussing cultures foreign to my own, I’m never sure whether an author consciously tries to convey a theme that my Western mind discerns, or if instead, the author merely conveys common tropes or themes from his/her culture that don’t necessarily resonate beyond that.  Here, specifically, I’m thinking of a character’s ability to interact with other characters through dreams to the point where an actual encounter occurs.  It happened numerous times throughout the novel, e.g.  from Creta’s visiting Mr. Okada, causing the former to feel sexual excitement, to Mr. Okada traversing the separation between his world and the dream world.  Noboru Wataya succumbs to some malady during the novel’s conclusion, and the author leads the reader to associate that event with Mr. Okada’s thrashing of a faceless man during a hotel room brawl in the fantasy world.

Beyond that, the themes that most interested me were: the nature of self; the role that fate/destiny/unseen forces play in regulating and dictating our futures; action/inaction; and violence, whether physical or mental.

The plot had holes, at least character-wise, but I realize now that the creations, when translated, could just be adumbrated versions.  Kumiko, in particular, lacked.  Other than loyalty, she didn’t strike me as a character worth the trouble her husband went through.

Overall, quite happy with the book, and have now started Cloud Atlas, which has begun with great promise.

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