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In the Miso Soup by Ryū Murakami
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In the Miso Soup (1997)

by Ryū Murakami

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958419,051 (3.45)1 / 81
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Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
I generally like Japanese books, but this is a bit of a disappointment. Surreal, challenging and reflective of a very different culture, but if this book has something important to say, then it's too subtle for me. If it's merely an entertaining ride (and why not) then it lacks a certain energy or verve. ( )
  malcrf | Oct 16, 2014 |
Well. I gave it three stars, but certainly that's not a low three. Perhaps it's because the book was fairly brief, or at least went quickly for me, and so I spent less time considering it. It's probably that I am not myself too familiar with Japan, having read few enough books either fictional or non-fiction about it, and never having been there. So I took in and considered the commentary on Japanese society/mindset/youth/etc., and the various details of the this unfamiliar setting, but had little background information to set it in or to integrate it with, and so lacked anything to really compare or add to. This is not in any way a fault of the story, obviously--it's that I'm from a different culture, as well as too inexperienced, untraveled, and unworldly to have much personal opinion on many of the matters this book deals with. At most I have whatever bits of information I've gained in passing from what articles, shows, books, conversations, and I don't even know what-all--and that's hardly enough to gauge the value or validity of the themes/messages/ideas this book presents regarding the sex trade in Japan or elsewhere, Japanese culture/society (or how well these views apply to the present vs. when it was published)...etc. But certainly the premise was intriguing, the settings were colorful, and despite a good deal of creepiness and gore (well, 'because of' is more like it, since the events and atmosphere did fit and add to the theme--loneliness, desperation, pressure, consumerism, emptiness, violence) there was quite a thoughtful examination of culture/mindset/society there as well.

Look, I've talked myself into adding a star. Or maybe I feel more like a 3.5 still, but it rounds up to a 4 anyway. Sure, I've already destroyed any authority my opinion of this book might have, but there it is anyway, for what little it's worth.

I'd say "Enjoy!" but somehow the word seems inappropriate. Just pretend I was clever enough to use a word which is analogous to 'enjoy' but more compatible with the book's milieu and my rather dubious endorsement. ( )
  -sunny- | Jul 15, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this rather crazy, Japanese book. [a:Ryū Murakami|8881|Ryū Murakami|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1200406808p2/8881.jpg] is not as dreamy as his namesake [a:Haruki Murakami|3354|Haruki Murakami|http://photo.goodreads.com/authors/1336646165p2/3354.jpg], which results in a more realistic book, while still maintaining that typical atmosphere.

Kenji, a somewhat neutral and unnoted youngman has a job as a guide for foreigners in the red light district. But one day, a new customer called Frank shows up, and, well, let's just say he's not the usual erotically frustrated old man. I did like the story, which had a particularly interesting ending. The book really excels in its philosophical approach though. There's a lot of interesting thoughts that have been implemented with grace.

I have noticed that some people struggle with the amount of gore in the book. Perhaps I'm just a guy who has been numbed by action movies and television news, but I felt it was an essential part of the story.

In short, this book is the perfect late-evening read (at 199 pages you'll manage to read it in a few hours) for people who aren't afraid of a book that enters some rather untrodden paths. ( )
  WorldInColour | Oct 12, 2013 |
This was one disturbing book. The only book I can think of that was somewhere as close to as disturbing was McCarthy's Child of God. I couldn't put this book down, it was disgusting and thrilling and felt entirely Japanese. I haven't read many Japanese authors yet but it seems there is some underlying buzz that makes it unmistakably Japanese. ( )
  dtn620 | Sep 22, 2013 |
A page turner of a psychological thriller that let's you take a romp through Japan's seedy underbelly with an absolute madman. ( )
  bsima | Jun 10, 2013 |
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My name is Kenji.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014303569X, Paperback)

From postmodern Renaissance man Ryu Murakami, master of the psychothriller and director of Tokyo Decadence, comes this hair-raising roller-coaster ride through the nefarious neon-lit world of Tokyo’s sex industry. In the Miso Soup tells of Frank, an overweight American tourist who has hired Kenji to take him on a guided tour of Tokyo’s sleazy nightlife. But Frank’s behavior is so strange that Kenji begins to entertain a horrible suspicion—that his new client is in fact the serial killer currently terrorizing the city. It is not until later, however, that Kenji learns exactly how much he has to fear and how irrevocably his encounter with this great white whale of an American will change his life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:23 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Frank, an overweight American tourist, has hired Kenji to take him on a tour of Tokyo's nightlife on three successive evenings. But Frank's behaviour is so strange that Kenji begins to entertain a horrible suspicion: that his client may in fact be the killer currently terrorising the city.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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