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In the Miso Soup by Ryū Murakami

In the Miso Soup (1997)

by Ryū Murakami

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978428,803 (3.46)1 / 84

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English (33)  French (4)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Catalan (1)  Norwegian (1)  Czech (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
It's taken me several days to sort out what I want to say about In the Miso Soup. From the description, tags, and cover, I was half expecting graphic splatterpunk, but was instead treated to a suspenseful, philosophical, and sometimes poignant novel...that happened to have a moderately long scene of graphic violence in the middle. ( )
  amanda4242 | Oct 18, 2015 |
Kenji is a tour guide of the night, normally taking Americans to the sex clubs within Tokyo. Frank, an overweight business man that appears to have only one thing on his mind wishes to take advantage of Kenji’s knowledge of the sex industry, hires him to guide him for three days. However Frank’s strange behaviour begins to make Kenji suspicious and he quickly suspects that his client is in fact the serial killer currently terrorising Tokyo. In the Miso Soup is a fast paced, philosophical piece of translated fiction by the Murakami that does not often get talked about, Ryū Murakami.

Translated by Ralph McCarthy, this Japanese novel is a short punchy novel that really explores culture clash in a really interesting way. The attitudes towards sex between the Japanese and Americans are what really stands out to me while reading In the Miso Soup. The whole novel plays around with the cultural differences in an interesting way, exploring attitudes, personalities and even philosophical views. I enjoyed Ryū Murakami’s approach to these themes within In the Miso Soup, I think it was a unique take on East meets West, and I do not think I have seen the approach before.

One thing I like about Japanese fiction is the writing style, it is almost like a slow burn but novels like this still manage to build tension. I have read a few Japanese novels that explore really dark themes in this way; Revenge by Yōko Ogawa comes to mind. Be aware when reading In the Miso Soup, Ryū Murakami does not hold back and it can get descriptive in its depictions of sex and violence.

I really enjoyed reading Ryū Murakami’s In the Miso Soup and am eager to read more of his novels; in particular Coin Locker Babies and Audition. I am fascinated by the philosophical and psychological look into the darker side of humanity that seems to be a common theme within Japanese literature. Other novelists I am interested in checking out include Natsuo Kirino, Banana Yoshimoto and Kenzaburō Ōe. This does not include the authors I have already read, like Haruki Murakami, Yōko Ogawa and now Ryū Murakami. In the Miso Soup is a short novel but it packs a huge punch, not for the faint hearted but well worth reading. I have also done a video review of this book, if you are interested in checking that out.

This review originally appeared on my blog; http://www.knowledgelost.org/literature/book-reviews/genre/horror/in-the-miso-so... ( )
  knowledge_lost | Oct 6, 2015 |
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 |
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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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