The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories
A major new anthology of great Japanese short stories introduced by Haruki MurakamiThis fantastically varied and exciting collection celebrates the great Japanese short story collection, from its origins in the nineteenth century to the remarkable practitioners writing today. Curated by Jay Rubin (who has himself freshly translated several of the stories) and introduced by Haruki Murakami this is a book which will be a revelation to many of its readers. Short story writers already well-known to English-language readers are all included - Tanizaki, Akutagawa, Murakami, Mishima, Kawabata, Yoshimoto - but also many surprising new finds. From Tsushima Yuko's 'Flames' to Sawanishi Yuten's 'Filling Up with Sugar', from Hoshi Shin'ichi's 'Shoulder-Top Secretary' to Yoshimoto Banana's 'Bee Honey', The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories is filled with fear, charm, beauty and comedy.

The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories Details

TitleThe Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 11th, 2018
PublisherPenguin Classics
ISBN-139780141395623
Rating
GenreShort Stories, Cultural, Japan, Fiction, Asian Literature, Japanese Literature, Anthologies

The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories Review

  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    This is a collection of both well known to me Japanese authors, as well as those I have not heard of before. I enjoyed this collection, with an introduction by a favorite author, Murakami. As always, I enjoyed some more than others.
  • L S Popovich
    January 1, 1970
    Since I've read every word Haruki Murakami has published in English I felt obligated to read his introduction once it showed up in the preview on Amazon. People saying "Haruki Murakami is my favorite author" has now become a cliche. But cliches can sometimes be true.His introduction was nice and long and juicy. My impression of the collection of stories was that they were chosen, as Mr. Rubin explains, for the casual reader. Maybe it's pretentious but I consider myself more than a casual reader Since I've read every word Haruki Murakami has published in English I felt obligated to read his introduction once it showed up in the preview on Amazon. People saying "Haruki Murakami is my favorite author" has now become a cliche. But cliches can sometimes be true.His introduction was nice and long and juicy. My impression of the collection of stories was that they were chosen, as Mr. Rubin explains, for the casual reader. Maybe it's pretentious but I consider myself more than a casual reader of Japanese fiction. I have an entire bookcase devoted to Japanese literature. I like to imagine what stories I would have picked if I had the opportunity to compile an anthology of this kind. There are new translations, which are sorely needed in this day and age. Akutagawa's previously untranslated short story "General Kim" was my favorite inclusion. Out of Akutagawa's 300+ works only 77 have thus far been translated into English. Since he's one of my other favorite authors I've actually gone to extremely nerdy lengths to read them all. I wish Rubin would just translate all of Akutagawa already. And maybe Bakin while he's at it.I am glad that he put a lot of translating into this volume, but why include "Patriotism" and the first chapter of Sanshiro? Not only do they take up valuable space but they are available almost anywhere. I buy anthologies because they contain stories on the brink of obscurity. Where are all the translations of Hiromi Kawakami or Junnosuke Yoshiyuki? I would have liked to see something new from Ryu Murakami, who never gets anthologized but is one of the best Japanese writers of all time. I gave this book four stars because it was excellent, but it really could've gotten five. The two stories by Haruki are previously available, but luckily we get something new by Banana Yoshimoto and Akutagawa which save this collection, in my opinion, from being a rehashing. It's hard to find Kenji Nakagami and we are treated to a new story by Mieko Kawakami, which was appreciated, so while I would not recommend this for your shelf if you can only have one Japanese literature anthology - it's hard to beat the two volume Columbia anthology - I'd put it in my top 5 Japanese literature anthologies. Yes, I am that much of a geek that I would create a top five.Though this is a step in the right direction there's about 3000 miles of stepping left to do if we are ever going to get the most out of J. Lit. I keep asking myself, why can't I just read Japanese? Oh yeah, it's insanely difficult. Anyway, check it out if you are a fan.
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  • Jerry Pogan
    January 1, 1970
    An absolutely sensational collection of short stories. It includes some of my favorite authors such as Mishima, Kawabata and Murakami but more importantly many authors I was unfamiliar with. I was a little disappointed that it didn't include one of my all-time favorites Kenzaburo Oe but that doesn't take anything away from just how good this book is. It opened a whole new field of authors that I can now read by giving a sample of the work they do. The translations were incredible and I felt that An absolutely sensational collection of short stories. It includes some of my favorite authors such as Mishima, Kawabata and Murakami but more importantly many authors I was unfamiliar with. I was a little disappointed that it didn't include one of my all-time favorites Kenzaburo Oe but that doesn't take anything away from just how good this book is. It opened a whole new field of authors that I can now read by giving a sample of the work they do. The translations were incredible and I felt that they were able to convey the feeling and intent of the authors and also the poetry of the writing. This has got to be one of the finest books I've ever read.
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