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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Special Experience, 15 Aug. 2008
This review is from: Yan and the Pike (Paperback)
In style it's close to surrealism. Yan is a cat. He lives on his own in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by grassland. He takes care and, no doubt, great pleasure in doing simple everyday things, like repairing hinges on his door, making tea or mushroom soup. One day he hears a knock on his door. When he reluctantly opens, he sees a pike in front of him. They have a chat and become friends. It's quite mind-blowing as it is, even more so because it seems that Yan is rather fond of the fish soup. The rest of the book is the story of the very unusual relationship between Yan and the pike, and descriptions of Yan's experiences of nature.

The storyline is in fact so harmoniously intertwined with the descriptions of nature that the latter becomes a character in its own right. Towards the end you are so involved with it that a simple reference to the nature makes you tremble. And when you reach the last page and read: `Step by step, as I climbed through the grass, my heart gradually filled with an inexpressible feeling of happiness,' this is exactly how you feel. It's as though you have blended into the narrative, become one of the characters yourself and adopted Yan's experiences as your own.

It's not a book. It's a therapy. You almost miss the moment when you drift away, and when you come round you're already in another world. A world where simple things acquire almost epic significance, where the pace is slow and there's no need to rush, because there's nowhere to rush. You don't have to feel guilty for wasting your time and underachieving things. Just enjoy the world around you, relax and drift with the flow. This world is incompatible with deterioration and death. Therefore there can be no questions like `what is this for?' The meaning of life is simply in the existence, in `the golden fields glinting in the morning light' and `the leaves glistening on the trees in the wood beyond that.'

It's a bit like Dutch paintings. You can look at them for hours, even though they don't show anything exciting or meaningful. All you can see are a street, a door, a maiden scraping a pot. Yet it's so consuming that it seems they conceal the meaning of life, and the whole humanity has rested its hopes here.

Read the book. It's short. It's enjoyable. It may even make you see the world in a slightly different light.
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9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A sparkling gem in a dusty library, 28 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Yan and the Pike (Paperback)
A mirror for philosophical minds
a bliss for poetical kinds
a hearth for heartfelt talks
a caress for the intuitive walks
a simplicity for restless eyes
a delicacy for the gastronomical guys
an uplift for the downtrodden
and a soul for the 'unshodden'.
Please, spoon up and TASTE !!
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Yan and the Pike
Yan and the Pike by Jun Machida (Paperback - 4 Sept. 2002)
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