14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly enjoyable, uncomfortable, alienation
Fujisan is a collection of 4 stories with the brooding, beautiful, symbolic and spiritually charged presence of Mount Fuji at its heart.
This is fine, precise writing, clear and often casually shocking. The central characters in each story - the manager of a convenience store, previously a member of a spiritual cult; a group of teenage boys obsessed with the...
Published on 13 Dec. 2012 by Lady Fancifull
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Four Japanese novellas
Mount Fuji is a presence in all four of the novellas in "Fujisan", providing meaning and peace in the lives of the characters. 'The Blue Summit' follows a former cult member as he works nights in a convenience store where the fluorescent lighting and sterile atmosphere allows him to keep messy and baffling human emotions at bay. In 'The Sea of Trees' three schoolboys stay...
Published on 20 Dec. 2012 by Eleanor
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3.0 out of 5 stars 4 Different and sometimes long winded essays that touch Mount Fuji, one so good it left me in tears.,
As a whole it's okay. It's worth covering each of the 4 essays briefly but as a whole it wasn't worth it for me. One theme that appears is the constant reflection on the past and how the interaction with Mount Fuji either impacted or changed the life of the protagonist. In many cases I found the reflection to be long winded and I'm not sure if this an indication of Japanese writing, this author or just this topic. The book itself is quite short, only 188 pages so only 40 pages per essay. I read the whole thing in about 4 hours. After reading it I WILL look at other work by this author but with caution.
Recommend for Child of Light.
I'll cover each of the 4 essays:
1 - The Blue Summit
I read the excerpt from the book before purchasing and obviously the beginning of this story is the one that I read. While I liked the end of the story there was just too much blah blah blah about it and I struggled to keep track of what was a now, what was past and what was a dream. Finally of all of the stories I felt this one had the most tenacious link to Mount Fuji. It was a struggle to finish and a struggle to read on afterwards. Two stars.
2. Sea of Trees
This story is set within the part of Mount Fuji that people go to suicide. It follows three high school boys trying to camp out one night before all setting off in different directions. A bit of a struggle to finish and was left with an ending that should have had a far more intense build up rather than the philosophical debate about trying to save somebody who tries to commit suicide vs just letting them get on with it. It should have been one thing or the other. Two stars.
I kinda liked this in a funny way. From the start the obvious goal is set in front of you - get rid of the trash. However the protagonist is developed in such a way that you are able to related to the hoarder. Mount Fuji's link is living in it's shadow and it see's everything as much as a deity does - the hoarder, the protagonist and the protagonists parents are all examined to some extent. Quite good - 3.5 stars.,
4. Child of Light
This was the essay that made it all worth while. We meet the protagonist, a maternity nurse, saying a prayer for a dead baby at a shrine on Mount Fuji, although that is not it's only connection. This is not a nice story as such, since it has a brief but graphical account of a fetus that is aborted and dies outside the womb. It covers the nurses struggle to continue in the face of the part of her job that deals with abortions. In this essay you are with the nurse from the first sentence and is a superb essay in a different class to the other 3. The author, Randy Taguchi, brings all of her skill to this essay including a good dream sequence, and managed to get me to question my hatred of the person who has had the abortion, the same person that I'd spent most of the story really really growing to hate. The ending brought an unexpected tear to my eye and I would suggest that you but this only to read this one essay. 5 Stars.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing,
I loved this book, each story was well written, unique and beautiful in its own way. This book is one of my all time favourites. I love the different perspectives and views of humanity from each character, reading this book was like painting a beautiful masterpiece, different strokes with colours both dark and vivid that somehow unite together to form a finished piece.
4.0 out of 5 stars An unusual collection of stories,
An unusual and typically Japanese collection of stories, which I greatly enjoyed. If you are familiar with the works of Haruki Murakami, you will enjoy these stories. They're not quite in Murakami's league, but well worth a read
4.0 out of 5 stars Mount fuji,
Short stories, each somehow linked to mount Fuji. I chose it because having visited Japan I am interested in Japanese culture and way of life. Each story takes a different aspect of life in Japan and reveals philosophies at odds with European ideas. I recommend it for anyone interested in Japan although it may have lost something in the translation.
5.0 out of 5 stars A tour de force,
I loved this collection of short stories (actually they are more novellas) and much credit must go to the translator. Taguchi really explores the minds of the characters and presents us with uncomfortable facts about our own lives and attitudes. The story of the nurse from the abortion clinic, the hoarder's house, and the teenagers in the forest on the slopes of Fuji will stay with me forever.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting,
Certainly very interesting, although I felt it got a bit repetitive for 4 independent short stories. The first and the last are the strongest, with the second being average. The third one lost me, and seemed very wasteful with words.
Would recommend to those with an open mind.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great to see more Japanese literature in translation,
This review is from: Fujisan (Paperback)
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As a student of Japanese, I am constantly intrigued by how translators are able to take Japanese sentences and make them work in English. Japanese is a language that loves omission: sentences often contain the absolute minimum information to be understood and a translator must have to fill in so many blanks. I recently read Princess Knight Vol. 1 and Princess Knight Vol. 2, Tezuka's excellent manga in which, in the original Japanese version the gender of the lead character is hidden, so it is unclear if the protagonist is male or female, something very difficult to achieve in English.
I make this point because many of the reviews of this book have found the translation off-putting. I personally didn't find it that bad, possibly because I decided to give the translator the benefit of the doubt, but also because it is wonderful to see more Japanese literature in translation. The stories themselves are good, although not excellent, with enough interesting characterisation to keep the reader interested.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fujisan,
A sensitive and perceptive exploration of social issues such as abortion, isolation ectera. The main character, in all the stories are well drawn
5.0 out of 5 stars Good writing, well translated,
I would recommend this book to those who savour images in prose. It evokes a life, or a whole set of lives, finding significance and meaning.
1.0 out of 5 stars None of the usual Eastern p,
I found this book very difficult to "get into". Grey in tone and content. Gave up halfway through chapter 2.
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Fujisan by Randy Taguchi (Paperback - 20 Nov. 2012)