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Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories…

Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories (Penguin Classics) (edition 2009)

by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Jay Rubin (Translator), Haruki Murakami (Introduction)

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7831217,204 (3.98)19
Title:Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Ryunosuke Akutagawa
Other authors:Jay Rubin (Translator), Haruki Murakami (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2009), Edition: Tra, Paperback, 268 pages
Collections:Your library

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Rashomon and Seventeen Other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa


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There are several stories in this collection well worth 5 stars... and a few that are not. However, and this is a controversial decision in my own mind, the lesser stories still provide a key view into the authors.... disintegration. The last few in the collection, all published posthumously, are in fact difficult to read because of the writing... but also because the writer is clearly in a final downward spiral. It is uncomfortable because you are, essentially, reading someone's diary, and reading that they are going to kill themselves.

For that, I give an overall 5 stars, though perhaps it should be 4. ( )
  dcunning11235 | Aug 28, 2017 |
There are some haunting stories here. Some just left me puzzled and others troubled me. These stories from a culture so different from my own were a challenge. Many were quite dark. Some were autobiographical. This author seemed a troubled person. I was grateful for the footnotes and introductions. Glad I read it, won't have to do so again. Enjoyed the book group with which I joined in discussion. ( )
  njcur | Sep 5, 2014 |
I enjoyed this introduction to the works of Akutagawa Ryūnosuke. The biographical chronology at the beginning was a useful introduction to the man. Haruki Murakami's introduction made me smile - how keen he was to say that Akutagawa isn't his favourite of Japan's "National Writers", before offering an opinion on where Akutagawa had gone wrong as a writer and, perhaps, in life. I enjoyed rereading The Nose, which I'd studied for A Level Japanese, and Dragon: The Old Potter's Tale was fun, but my favourites are Hell Screen and Loyalty, perhaps because they are longer stories that explore human behaviour more fully, and Horse Legs, because it made me think of Kafka's Metamorphosis. The final story included in the collection is Spinning Gears, which was published after Akutagawa's death. It is an affecting piece of writing, as Akutagawa documents his inner feelings, particularly his fears of madness. It's a sad note to end the book on, both in the sense that Akutagawa took his own life as this story hints might happen and in the sense that his writing was moving in a new direction but was cut short. ( )
  missizicks | Jan 6, 2014 |
Luckily for me, Rashomon is the first story in this book. I can say completely honest now, that I have read the part of the book what it is all about, the story from the 1001-list.
There are, however, another 17 stories to be read, let alone the comprehensive back ground information. I will get to them too, but will cut it in chuncks.

Liked Rashomon: a short story about a servant, whose master let him go and who is now waiting in an uncomfortable shelter until the rain stops. He meets a woman who profanes the bodies that are left nearby. He talks to her and then reaches his own conclusion. ( )
  BoekenTrol71 | Apr 25, 2013 |
Akutagawa known as the “Father of Japanese short stories” stays true to his designation with this collection of metaphysically refined stories. The rendered stories: - The Grove, Yam Gruel, Rashomon, Martyr to name a few; highlights Akutagawa’s preference for macabre themes of immortality, depression, virtue, chaos and death. These stories encompass a constant battle of skepticism prevailing over virtue of morality v/s existence of evil.

In Rashomon, the act of the ghoulish old woman picking out long hairs from the skulls of the corpses to make wigs and sell them to buy scraps of food delineate a desperate act to fulfill the demonic perils of life. Similarly, 'Martyr' highlights the thriving soul of hypocrisy in religion and the susceptibility to strong gossip.

Akutagawa’s affinity for such themes brings out his real tumultuous relation with mental anxiety and clinical neurotic dwelling of his personal life. (He committed suicide at the age of 35 due to an overdose of Vernol). Furthermore, his description of kimonos/garbs adorning his protagonists illustrates a high usage of the color blue which in Japanese culture is the color of naivety,immaturity and youth.

( )
  Praj05 | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ryunosuke Akutagawaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Murakami, HarukiIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rubin, JayTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tatsumi, YoshihiroCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Evening, and a lowly servant sat beneath the Rashomon, waiting for the rain to end.
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Do not combine with "Rashomon and Other Stories" - this work contains additional stories
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039849, Paperback)

This collection features a brilliant new translation of the Japanese master's stories, from the source for the movie Rashomon to his later, more autobiographical writings.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:53 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"Akutagawa (1892-1927) was one of Japan's foremost stylists - a modernist master whose stories are marked by original imagery, cynicism, beauty and wild humour. Including both famous and little-known works, some translated into English for the first time, this volume reveals Akutagawa in a new light. In his introduction, Haruki Murakami explores Akutagawa's place in Japanese culture and influence on his own writing, while Jay Rubin's translations capture the spirit of the originals."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0143039849, 0140449701

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