For the J alphabet, I had to choose Japan since it is one country that fascinates me to no end. The land of the rising sun, cherry blossoms, food, and a culture rich society. Japan has it all with it varied, a mix of traditional and modern. Whether it is literature, culture, traditions, discipline or lifestyle, it sets the bar really high. Books are exceptional as well.
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Penance by Kanae Minato
Kanae Minato is a Japanese writer of crime fiction and thrillers. She is a member of the Mystery Writers of Japan and the Honkaku Mystery Writers Club of Japan.
BLURB – When a group of young girls are approached by a stranger, they cannot know that the encounter will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Hours later, Emily is dead. The surviving girls alone can identify the killer. But not one of them remembers his face. Driven mad by grief, the victim’s mother demands the girls find the murderer or else atone for their crimes. If they do neither, she will have her revenge. She will make them pay. From the critically acclaimed author of Confessions, Penance is a dark and disturbing tale of revenge that will leave you reeling.…………………………………………………….
Kafka On The Shore by Haruki Murakami
Haruki Murakami’s books and stories have been bestsellers in Japan as well as internationally, with his work being translated into 50 languages. Any book you pick will change your perspective on life. His work has received numerous awards, including the World Fantasy Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Franz Kafka Prize, and the Jerusalem Prize.
BLURB – A teenage boy, Kafka Tamura, who runs away from home either to escape a gruesome oedipal prophecy or to search for his long-missing mother and sister; and an aging simpleton called Nakata, who never recovered from a wartime affliction and now is drawn toward Kafka for reasons that, like the most basic activities of daily life, he cannot fathom. Their odyssey, as mysterious to them as it is to us, is enriched throughout by vivid accomplices and mesmerizing events. Cats and people carry on conversations, a ghostlike pimp employs a Hegel-quoting prostitute, a forest harbors soldiers apparently unaged since World War II, and rainstorms of fish (and worse) fall from the sky. There is a brutal murder, with the identity of both victim and perpetrator a riddle–yet this, along with everything else, is eventually answered, just as the entwined destinies of Kafka and Nakata are gradually revealed, with one escaping his fate entirely and the other given a fresh start on his own.
“Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who’s in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It’s like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven’t seen in a long time.” ~Oshima, Kafka on the shore.……………………………………………
Snow Country (Penguin Modern Classics) by
Snow Country is one of the three novels cited by the Nobel Committee in awarding Yasunari Kawabata the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, the other two works being The Old Capital and Thousand Cranes.
BLURB – Shimamura is tired of the bustling city. He takes the train through the snow to the mountains of the west coast of Japan, to meet with a geisha he believes he loves. Beautiful and innocent, Komako is tightly bound by the rules of a rural geisha, and lives a life of servitude and seclusion that is alien to Shimamura, and their love offers no freedom to either of them. Snow Country is both delicate and subtle, reflecting in Kawabata’s exact, lyrical writing the unspoken love and the understated passion of the young Japanese couple.…………………………………………………
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