Literary Listings: 4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors

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4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors

Real World by Natsuo Kirino, Philip Gabriel (Translator)

I read Out by Kirino and I absolutely loved it! I was so happy when I realised my library had this I had to run down and get it at once. This one seems to be a bit different from Out in that it isn’t the young women doing the crime, but I can’t wait to sink my teeth into because Kirino writes with such a feminist flair, it always makes me smile.

Genres: Mystery, thriller, culture, Japan
Summary: In a crowded residential suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer and endless “cram school” sessions meant to ensure entry into good colleges. There’s Toshi, the dependable one; Terauchi, the great student; Yuzan, the sad one, grieving over the death of her mother—and trying to hide her sexual orientation from her friends; and Kirarin, the sweet one, whose late nights and reckless behavior remain a secret from those around her. When Toshi’s next-door neighbor is found brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor’s son, a high school boy they nickname Worm. But when he flees, taking Toshi’s bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers—dangers they never could have even imagined—that rises from within them as well as from the world around them.

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

I was actually ay my local library looking for Ghost Bride when I ran into this. What I was attracted to was the problematic anthropologist, which is what I studied, so I thought why not? I really liked the cover as well and we all know I’m a sucker for a good cover… It wasn’t till after I got home that I realised that it has a fantasy element to it I think!

Genres: Fantasy, historical fiction
Summary: In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.

Big Breasts and Wide Hips (丰乳肥臀 [Fēng rǔ féi tún] #1) by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator)

This is also a pick-up from the same time as The People In The Trees and so it’s a bit of a whim read. I’m a bit hesitant to get at it, it seems super heavy and I’m not 100% convinced that I’m going to enjoy it but I really want to try and branch out in baby steps, so I’ll give it a shot.

Genres: Historical Fiction, international, China
Summary: In a country where men dominate, this epic novel is first and foremost about women. As the title implies, the female body serves as the book’s most important image and metaphor. The protagonist, Mother, is born in 1900. Married at 17 into the Shangguan family, she has nine children, only one of whom is a boy, the narrator of the book, a spoiled and ineffectual child who stands in stark contrast to his eight strong and forceful female siblings. Mother, a survivor, is the quintessential strong woman, who risks her life to save the lives of several of her children and grandchildren. The writing is full of life-picturesque, bawdy, shocking, imaginative. Each of the seven chapters represents a different time period, from the end of the Qing dynasty up through the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, the civil war, the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao years. In sum, this stunning novel is Mo Yan’s searing vision of 20th-century China.

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

I’ve wanted to read this for forever. I’ve read great reviews for it on fantasy and YA blogs so I’m super happy to be able to get my hands on it. I quite like the cover but I will also admit that I’m a bit hesitant for the romance. Not a huge romance fan but it seems like a worthwhile read, so I’ll give it a shot.

Genres: YA, historical fiction, international
Summary: Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound. Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

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About Claire (BWB)

It's Claire (aka Quirky) from Bitches With Books, an online book blog that serves up a healthy dose of book reviews, lists + literary madness.
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One Response to Literary Listings: 4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors

  1. I’ve not heard of any of these before and you’ve got me wanting to read them all!

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