You know: in a foolish, undiscriminating way, I've been happy these last few months. I don't know why. I just am. I love my friends; I love my pupils; I love what I read; I -- dammit -- love my thoughts. I love the taste of oranges.
Thornton Wilder in a letter to Gertrude Stein, Aug 14, 1936

Sunday, January 23, 2011


In the Miso SoupIn the Miso Soup by Ryū Murakami
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this because I learned that Ryu Murakami wrote the novel that became Takashi Miike's Audition, a brilliant film but for neither the weak of stomach nor faint of heart. In prose, the slow pacing that you just know is building to some horrific climax doesn't work as well as it does on film -- or maybe this story is not as compelling as Audition.

Kenji is a twenty-year-old from the provinces who should be studying for his college prep tests but instead has became an unlicensed guide for gaijin looking for a sex tour of Tokyo. He knows from the start that Frank is a weird one, but over three days he goes on a psychic journey that his previous immersion in the world of foreigners and the seamiest side of Tokyo could not possibly prepare him.

Since Kenji is the narrator, you know he's going to survive. When he finds the postage stamp-size patch of human skin stuck to his front door, I wondered why he didn't bail. But he is both frightened and curious, and he has not yet been paid.

Books by Ryu Murakami available in English

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