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The Love We Share Without Knowing (2008)

by Christopher Barzak

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1551077,049 (3.83)2
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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Did not finish ( )
  rossarn | Sep 15, 2013 |
This may be more than the story of how some self-absorbed American teenager learns an appreciation of Japanese culture (exoticism, anyone?), but it sure starts out that way. I've no interest in wading through that shitty beginning to anything better that might be beyond it.
  GinnyTea | Mar 31, 2013 |
Set in Japan, focused on suicide. Hauntingly beautiful, but I didn't enjoy it. If someone else really liked it I would understand why. ( )
  faganjc | May 27, 2012 |
This is a difficult book to describe. Each chapter is a seemingly separate story. When taken as a whole, they are interconnecting stories of love, loss and renewal linking the lives of strangers in Japan and how fate affects each of their lives. Eventually the stories make their way full circle.

The book is written in a haunting and beautiful way. Each of the stories are told in the first person giving you their perspective. When I picked this book up I was intrigued by the description on the back cover. I never thought of it as science fiction and frankly was surprised, yet pleased, to see it nominated for a Nebula. I would describe it as psychological stories in a world of illusion.

Some of these stories were quite dark and depressing but overall I liked the book and would recommend it even for those who are not fans of science fiction. ( )
  UnderMyAppleTree | Mar 31, 2010 |
Barzak's second novel (after the great One for Sorrow) is a profound disappointment. It is a novel in interconnected stories, with protagonists either Japanese and American. All though are equally adrift and apathetic in their existences. All are unlucky in love (one man is put in an enchanted sleep by his jealous Japanese lover) and their lives are parades of missed connections. Barzak, who started the novel while living in Japan, teaching English, seems to suggest that it is Japanese urban culture at the heart of this malaise. This suggestion is enormously problematic (especially for a white dude living there for only a short time to put forwards), and the cumulative effect of this novel is one of exhaustion and frustration.
This frustration is compounded by a weakness existing in some of Barzak's other work - mainly his stories. His symbolism is heavy-handed and laughably obvious. For example: A girl named Ai ('Love') who is looking for love in all the wrong places? Come on. ( )
  kougogo | Nov 23, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055338564X, Paperback)

In this haunting, richly woven novel of modern life in Japan, the author of the acclaimed debut One for Sorrow explores the ties that bind humanity across the deepest divides. Here is a Murakamiesque jewel box of intertwined narratives in which the lives of several strangers are gently linked through love, loss, and fate.

On a train filled with quietly sleeping passengers, a young man’s life is forever altered when he is miraculously seen by a blind man. In a quiet town an American teacher who has lost her Japanese lover to death begins to lose her own self. On a remote road amid fallow rice fields, four young friends carefully take their own lives—and in that moment they become almost as one. In a small village a disaffected American teenager stranded in a strange land discovers compassion after an encounter with an enigmatic red fox, and in Tokyo a girl named Love learns the deepest lessons about its true meaning from a coma patient lost in dreams of an affair gone wrong.

From the neon colors of Tokyo, with its game centers and karaoke bars, to the bamboo groves and hidden shrines of the countryside, these souls and others mingle, revealing a profound tale of connection—uncovering the love we share without knowing.

Exquisitely perceptive and deeply affecting, Barzak’s artful storytelling deftly illuminates the inner lives of those attempting to find—or lose—themselves in an often incomprehensible world.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:38:06 -0400)

On a train filled with quietly sleeping passengers, a young man's life is forever altered when he is miraculously seen by a blind man. In a quiet town an American teacher who has lost her Japanese lover to death begins to lose her own self. On a remote road amid fallow rice fields, four young friends carefully take their own lives, and in that moment they become almost as one. In a small village a disaffected American teenager stranded in a strange land discovers compassion after an encounter with an enigmatic red fox, and in Tokyo a girl named Love learns the deepest lessons about its true meaning from a coma patient lost in dreams of an affair gone wrong.… (more)

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