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Summer Of The Ubume, The Paperback – 10 Sep 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: VERTICAL; FICTH edition (10 Sept. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1934287253
  • ISBN-13: 978-1934287255
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.2 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 649,774 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MJ on 3 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
The book itself revolves around a journalist whose endearing, yet sharp tongued friendship with a knowledgable bookseller/priest helps to solve the absurdly cliché yet ultimately puzzling dissapearance of a man from a locked room.

To begin with if you're going into this book thinking it might be a light afternoon read with a glass of wine may find their afternoons increasingly shortened and their wine cellar rapidly emptied, it is not a book for the faint hearted nor is it a book whose ideals should be passed off as a nonsensical rant, it is a deeply thought provoking and intellectual read done by a true master of the genre. Even the translation surprisingly doesn't take away any of the seriousness or thoughtfullness present, unlike many others which seem to lose that edge through the void of language.

Throughout the book we observe dramatic changes to the act of storytelling and notions of these ideas, mostly through whole chapters of wise philosophy and food for thought between these exchanges between the bookseller and the journalist, relating to such things as 'Are we real?', 'The perceptions of curses/bad omens' among many more, all managing to seemlessly interact with the story at that time.

If you're looking for a commitment, a lesson in intellectual ferocity, and just a damn good read! You've come to the right place.
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Format: Paperback
Fantastic paranormal/real-life crossover fiction from Japan.

The Summer of the Ubume was Natsuhiko Kyogoku's début novel - the first of a nine volume series. It's also brilliantly translated by Alexander O. Smith and Elye J. Alexander.

Akihiko `Kyogokudo' Chuzenji is a used book store owner and priest/faith healer. His long-time friend Tatsumi Sekiguchi a freelance writer.

After one of their many lengthy para-psychological and metaphysical discussions sat round the book store (which takes up about the first quarter of the book), they become aware of a strange case involving a man and his wife - the former who has disappeared from a locked-from-the-inside room; the latter who has been pregnant for 20 months.

After contacting one of their friends - a private detective, the three become embroiled in a dark and morbid tale that goes beyond any norm you've witnessed before.

With a rooting in the Japanese folklore of `Yokai', The Summer of the Ubume tells a horrific tale through a very real-world and non-horror perspective. As refreshing as anything you can read from the East, the prose is very open yet intrinsically detailed - not to mention multi-layered. To some this will translate as `slow'; to others it's a very refreshing approach to an incredibly well-handled text.

The story is truly horrible, but the characters are very unique and there's even a fair sprinkling of comedy in there - particularly in the first half or so.

This is not a book to read lightly - it will take time and commitment, and a drilled-in focus, but the rewards are splendid.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Anton E Mouse on 11 Jun. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book contains well-drawn characters, a great story and an interesting mythological/psychological premise. Above all, however, it is fantastically atmospheric, redolent of both contemporary and post-war Japan. The cover suggests that this books fits into the horror/fantasy mould, but it is not as horrific as that suggests. It's also not as outlandishly fantastical as that suggests, as the otherworldly elements are firmly rooted in Japanese folklore. If you want a fascinating page-turner reminiscent of a dark Haruki Murakami at his best, then give this a try.
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