Kafka – A report to the Academy

Reading Kafka in Hebrew, probably for the 30th time or so and encountered a quote which I like.

No, I didn’t want freedom. Only a way out—to the right or left or anywhere at all. I made no other demands, even if the way out should also be only an illusion. The demand was small; the disappointment would not be any greater—to move on further, to move on further! Only not to stand still with arms raised, pressed against a crate wall.

Kafka, A report to the Academy

Translation is from a Kafka English repository

The previous sentence discussed how people see Freedom and yearn it, while the Ape is not looking for freedom, just a way out.

I find it quite relevant to our daily lives. We always love to use the word “Freedom”. A few years back I was in Phnom Penh chatting with friends and talking about freedom and human rights in Japan, when my friend said in an almost angry voice “you have no idea what you are talking about”.

We always seek freedom and talk about it, but are we ever “Free”? Shouldn’t we always look for a way? A way to lead us to a better place, a way-out from a bad place.

Charlotte Salomon

Was introduced to her work by the book “Charlotte”, David Foenkinos. Read it in English and was intrigued by the subject.

Contents wise, I am not sure how to categorize it. David Foenkinos writes part of it as an autobiography, while some parts as the writer looking for Charlotte, researching her life and work.

I finished reading the book just before “Holocaust Day”, which was a very good timing for me. Concentrating in one person (one family), suffering, what she has gone through is a strong reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust, and for me is so much powerful than thinking about the number of people murdered.

I will keep on looking for her work, and hope to see it someday in an exhibition.

Milkman by Anna Burns – continued

To complete my previous post .  (as I don’t like editing past posts)

Just finished reading the book, but could not find more to write about it .

The book, just ended. More happenings, deaths, but no conclusion. No hope for improvement. Life goes on in the same way.

What I remember vividly from the last part of the book is the mother’s attempts to look attractive and capture the heart of the real milkman as well as discussions about “wrong marriages”.  I feel it is intentional that the writer chose to write more about the being human. At 50, having lost husband and children, the mother is keen on rekindling a lost love. Simple, human, and has nothing to do with the conflict.

I hope all conflicts in the world will be forgotten and stopped  for Love and friendship.

 

Milkman by Anna Burns

Reading the book “Milkman” by Anna Burns .

Takes me a while to read it, but want to share my first thought and impression of reading it.

I am obviously aware of the struggles and conflicts in Norther Ireland, but I guess I never really understood what it meant on a daily basis. Thinking about it, I guess this what the entire world knows and feels about Israel.

And as such, it makes it even a more interesting read. Not only the story of a young woman being harassed by the “Milkman”, but an important story of the conflicts, deaths, the 10 minutes zone and much more.

Did not finish yet, but I think I can already recommend it.

 

地球星人 - Update

As previously wrote, read 地球星人 by Sayaka Murata and finished reading.

A bit difficult for me to write a review, as had several phases while reading:

First, felt “yet another book by Murata-san” challenging the accepted society rules. Why does one need to play by society rules, get married, have children, work, transfer the genes to another generation that will do the same.

Then, it became a story of a girl that is abused, while society does not protect her but rather judge.

Last part went crazy, but was it really crazy, or just the writer’s way to shake, to create a feeling of disgust while I was thinking the 3 people are actually trying to establish a new culture, which is not that different from ours.

The heroin struggles with sexual desire, discussing reproduction.

Do not want to disclose the story and ending, but I was a bit disappointed after reading コンビニ人間.

 

地球星人 By Sayaka Murata

Started reading Sayaka Murata’s  (村田沙耶香)latest novel 地球星人 . Literal translation of the name is 地球 = Earth  星人=Person from the planet.  Interesting combination.

The book was published last week, so only available in Hardcover. Not sure why it is not available in Kindle as previous one.

Looking forward to it, as I enjoyed her last books and the way she looks at our lives, social standards.

“First Love” by Shimamoto Rio

A winner of the Naoki prize this year, First love received mixed reviews on Amazon.

Maybe I expected more from a Naoki prize winner, but this book read more like a movie script than a book.

Not enough depth, not enough story.  The turn of events and investigation of the murder proceed in a strange pace with too many holes left in between to be “discovered” later.

“court scene” is way too short and uneventful to have significance.

One of her books was already adapted to a movie and I have a feeling this one will follow as well.

A popular writer, yet I still expect more from a prize winner.  I guess this was the first and last book I read from this writer.

 

Kinkakuji

The book, not the place.

Started reading it in Japanese, which proves a harder task than I expected. Will not give up and continue to read, but the pace and flow are discouraging.

It is difficult to read, the temple/buddhism related terms, grammar and what Mishima Yukio is trying to convey makes it a challenge.

Now should I insist finishing this before moving to another book, or try to read two in parallel.

 

 

Portrayal of Japanese in Min Jin Lee’s “Pachinko”, Part 2

As I previously wrote  , I have a problem with the way the book portrays Japanese.
Again, I am certain Koreans were discriminated, and maybe even up to this day, but still the book reads like political propaganda.

What bothers me even more is in-accuracies:

  1. Noa managed to run away, get married and have 4 children with a fake name.   This is impossible in Japan (or any other country).  Japanese registration goes by Koseki (戸籍) , a family registration. One cannot break or fake one.
  2. Foreign registration.   I also had to go through foreign registration until I could get permanent residence.
    Normal and non-discriminating.  Koreans had the choice of becoming Japanese, but the characters in the book chose not to do that. Either one is Korean (with Korean passport) or Japanese.   No way in between and again, not discriminating.

Will finish reading this book, but can’t recommend it.

Portrayal of Japanese in Min Jin Lee’s “Pachinko”

Maybe too early to write this, as I am only halfway through the book.

But until now I could not find even one positive Japanese character. All characters are either bad, neutral or greedy, exploiting the Korean workers.

In Japan times Article , it is mentioned:

Lee never casts Japanese as villains. There is no resentment, only fraught, complex interaction. Lee thinks it unfair to blame modern Japan for the past — but what might the future hold for Koreans and Japanese?

Which I find to be wrong.

I almost regret buying and reading this book, but feel obliged to read to the end.

I do not say that Korean did not suffer from Japanese occupation, discrimination and exploitation, but it feels almost a political book that cannot find “good” or “kind ” Japanese.

Can I get my money back ?