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My Name Is Sei Shonagon

by Jan Blensdorf

Not like anything I have read before, a huge amount is packed into this short book. It tells the story of the narrator's life and it also tells the story of Japan itself: calligraphy, incense, samurai, cherry blossom, commuting on the bullet train, hiding your feelings. After a slow beginning you will find yourself entranced by this beguiling book. Expect a dramatic finish.

Extract

Traditionally ours is a culture of self-discipline and self-restraint. Even during childbirth women are expected to remain silent - in control. When the dam bursts it does so properly, and at times for what would appear to be appallingly trivial reasons. A girl is stabbed to death on the way to school by a would-be boyfriend in whom she has shown no interest. A child is strangled near a temple well because her mother was not sufficiently friendly towards the strangler.

Parallels

Lost In Translation - the film
- by -
 

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