Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories

Book - 2006
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Ryunosuke Akutagawa (1892-1927) is one of Japan's foremost stylists - a modernist master whose short stories are marked by highly original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humour. Rashomon and In a Bamboo Grove inspired Kurosawa's magnificent film and depict a past in which morality is turned upside down, while tales such as The Nose , O-Gin and Loyalty paint a rich and imaginative picture of a medieval Japan peopled by Shoguns and priests, vagrants and peasants. And in later works such as Death Register , The Life of a Stupid Man and Spinning Gears , Akutagawa drew from his own life to devastating effect, revealing his intense melancholy and terror of madness in exquisitely moving impressionistic stories.
Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 2006.
ISBN: 9780143039846
0143039849
Branch Call Number: FIC Akuta
Characteristics: 268 pages ; 22 cm

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wyenotgo
Dec 20, 2017

Should you embark upon reading this book and become discouraged (as was I) by the dark, brutal nature of the first group of stories, reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm, please don't give up. Encountering "Hell Screen" I came to realize what a masterful writer Akutagawa was. This is not just an account of a painting depicting Hell: This is Hell itself!
Then, modern pieces such as "Green Onions" -- a story that could easily fit into one of O. Henry's clever collections such as The Trimmed Lamp -- display a different side of Akutagawa entirely.
In the final section of the book, one comes face to face with Akutagawa himself, his soul laid bare in "The Life of a Stupid Man", a brilliant set of poetic tableaux. The book concludes with "Spinning Gears", a powerful and terrifying account of his descent into madness. Surely a masterpiece!

theorbys Jun 01, 2012

One of Japan's finest, most tragic writers. This is a remarkable collection of short stories and unfortunately about as much as you can find in English by Akutagawa. The first two, Rashomon and In A Bamboo Grove, were the basis of Kurosawa's film, Rashomon. Spinning Gears is a hallucinatory, autobiographical record of a mind spinning into madness and suicide.

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