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on 28 July 2001
Jigokuhen (Hell Screen) is a psychological work of immense literary genius. Akutagawa maintains his cruel and detached writing style throughout the various stories, resulting in a cold and deeply profound book which explores man and the lengths he will go to, to achieve his goal, or obsession. In Hell Screen, the reader is guided on a journey of man's potential cruelty by a narrator, who avoids unnecessary sentimentality and emotion. Whilst not being a Japanese social/political diatribe, this masterpiece will echo within the readers mind for days after it has been read. The book indirectly allows for self-reflection and evaluation. This is one of the best books I have ever read, written by a man who was as complex as his work, who added a twist to his own life, by killing himself.
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