Hell Screen (Penguin Mini Modern Classics) Paperback – 15 Feb 2011
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About the Author
Ryunosuke Akutagawa, short-story writer, poet, and essayist, one of the first Japanese modernists translated into English. He was born in Tokyo in 1892, and began writing for student publications at the age of ten. He graduated from Tokyo University in 1916 with an English Literature degree and worked as a teacher before becoming a full time writer in 1919. His mother had gone mad suddenly just months after his birth and he was plagued by fear of inherited insanity all his life. He killed himself in 1927.
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Top Customer Reviews
The translation is good, enabling the story to flow well. I've never read Akutagawa before, and I found his narration style very unusual with various jumps ahead and back again in the story's timescale.
Sadly I didn't find any of the characters endearing as such, a shame, as a story to me becomes considerably more difficult to enjoy when not one character can be epathised with. Hell Screen is still an interesting read, though I am not sure whether I would recommend it. If you've read a few of the new Penguin series (mini modern classics) and enjoy this type of fiction, then for the price, it is worth an attempt.
One should be pulled or pushed into reading outside one’s comfort zone from time to time. While this pleasant encounter with an interesting text outside my normal subject range has not inspired me sufficiently to seek out more Akutagawa, it has certainly spurred me to read the other 49 books in this set.
'Hell Screen' comes in a pocket-sized 50-page book with the very short cautionary tale, 'The Spider Thread' tacked on after it. I bought it as part of the Penguin Mini Modern Classics 50-volume boxed set which, at about 1.50 per volume halved the cost of the cover price of individual volumes.