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People From My Neighbourhood: Hiromi…
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People From My Neighbourhood: Hiromi Kawakami (edition 2020)

by Hiromi Kawakami (Author)

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2627101,611 (3.53)5
"A bossy child who lives under a white cloth near a tree; a schoolgirl who keeps doll's brains in a desk drawer; an old man with two shadows, one docile and one rebellious; a diplomat no one has ever seen who goes fishing at an artificial lake no one has ever heard of. These are some of the inhabitants of People From My Neighborhood. In their lives, details of the local and everyday-the lunch menu at a tiny drinking place called the Love, the color and shape of the roof of the tax office-slip into accounts of duels, prophetic dreams, revolutions, and visitations from ghosts and gods. In twenty-six "palm of the hand" stories-fictions small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand-Hiromi Kawakami creates a universe ruled by mystery and transformation"--… (more)
Member:kenilworth_41
Title:People From My Neighbourhood: Hiromi Kawakami
Authors:Hiromi Kawakami (Author)
Info:Granta (2020), Edition: 01
Collections:Japanese books - LHS
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People From My Neighbourhood by Hiromi Kawakami

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Lovely writing, if a little wacky at times. I think I need to give up on short story collections overall though - they’re just not my bag of beans. ( )
  gonzocc | Mar 31, 2024 |
Immensely imaginative with scenarios ranging from lightly humorous and satirical to surreal and downright bizarre, People From My Neighborhood:Stories by Hiromi Kawakami is a wonderful collection of thirty-six interlinked short stories/vignettes. The stories feature a cast of interesting characters, some recurring and some new, from the narrator’s neighborhood -her childhood friend Kanae and Kanae’s sister and others such as the neighborhood Grandma, a dog school principal, Uncle Red Shoes who opens a dancing school,the lady who owns Love, “the tiny drinking place”, the Kawamata family and many others.

Some of my favorites:
Grandpa Shadows is about a neighbor who got his name from having two shadows- one “shadow was docile and submissive, the other rebellious”. Sports Day describes an annual school sports day sponsored by a bank in which the competitions are also banking themed-“competitions for best loan evaluation, best anti-fraud strategy for direct deposits, best marketing of financial products, best check-clearance procedure, and best cartoon character for their bank ads”. In Weightlessness, a no-gravity alert sent out by the no-gravity alert has everyone hugging trees and hanging on while everything is turned upside down. Pigeonitis describes the community being infected by a contagious illness that makes those infected walk, talk, think and behave like a pigeon in addition to certain physical changes. Falsification revolves around the memories and perceptions of the people in the neighborhood being manipulated and falsified, which leads to a change in how they visualize the neighborhood and its people. The Hachiro Lottery is about Hachiro, the youngest of the Shikishima family's 15 children. As the family is unable to take care of so many children, the neighborhood draws a lottery to decide which family among them would take care of the child every three months. The Shacks describes a cluster of four shacks just outside the town, each of which respectively absorbs the four human emotions- sadness, anger, hate or joy and turns them into energy for its own growth. The shacks expand, crack or grow depending on the strength of the emotion being absorbed, the only catch is that the emotion in question needs to be pure and not diluted by other emotions.

Overall, People From My Neighborhood by Hiromi Kawakami(translated by Ted Goossen) is a fun and entertaining read that combines elements of humor, satire, fantasy and magical realism. The writing is crisp and straightforward and the stories are varied in tone and theme, which makes this an interesting and enjoyable read. This would be a great choice is great if you want a change of pace and/or a unique reading experience. ( )
  srms.reads | Sep 4, 2023 |
Lots of short stories / chapters about people in a Japanese town where all kinds of magical events happen, but nobody seems very surprised about it. I enjoyed it to start with but after a while I started losing interest.

The New York Times was very impressed though:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/30/books/review/people-from-my-neighborhood-hiro... ( )
  steve02476 | Jan 3, 2023 |
When I was in high school back in the 1970s, I read some Richard Brautigan. Kawakami's writing style reminds me of that, as chapters are short and disconnected, and they seem to mean nothing or whatever meaning you'd like to give them. Some reviewers have been kind to this author, but I'm not a fan. I feel certain that if current artificial intelligence were given these stories as input, we'd be able to see an infinite number of similar stories produced by AI and be unable to distinguish them from those written by Kawakami herself. That will be awesome, I suppose, for fans of Kawakami, since the world will never run out of these kinds of stories, even long after she has passed. To be fair, there are a couple of stories near the end that I rather like. Still ... ( )
  texasstorm | Jun 22, 2022 |
At times the narrator of this series of vignettes about people in her neighbourhood appears to be a child. Though some of those vignettes cover decades. And all of them are whimsical or quirky or, at least, odd. Yet there is a child-like generosity in most of the characterizations. And an appropriate degree of awe when the sometimes astonishing events warrant same. In tone, it reminded me of Tove Jansson, but maybe that is just a reflection of the peculiar whimsy at play.

Kawakami begins with odd descriptions of individuals but it gradually becomes clear that there is an entire, well-worked-out, neighbourhood full of connections between these characters. Yet there is no claim to comprehensiveness. Clearly these are just some of the people in the narrator’s neighbourhood. And why these stories in particular are told, might be just as interesting a question as what stories aren’t being told. As with Kawakami’s previous works, I was both enchanted and bemused. Which is not a bad state for reading to induce.

Gently recommended. ( )
  RandyMetcalfe | May 27, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
This gleeful tone of wonder, matter-of-fact domestic compromise, fey visitation, and cheek-by-jowl coexistence of the mundane and the fabulous carries through the rest of the collection....The result is a book that evokes Italo Calvino’s worldly fabulism and Ludmilla Petrushevskaya’s Grimms-ian domestic surrealism, but with a cultural lexicon that is distinctly Japanese. An engaging and winsome book that charms without diminishing the precise unease created by Kawakami’s spare prose.
added by Lemeritus | editKirkus Reviews (Aug 31, 2021)
 
Kawakami’s magical and engaging collection (after Strange Weather in Tokyo) pulls the reader into a small Japanese community via stories told by unnamed narrators....Throughout, Kawakami effectively anchors the stories’ uncanny moments with everyday details. This thought-provoking, offbeat collection is worth a look.
added by Lemeritus | editPublisher's Weekly (Aug 20, 2021)
 
People from My Neighborhood is a book about relationships. Kawakami Hiromi’s collection of micro-fiction, itself only 120-pages long, is about the members of the close-knit community in an exurban Tokyo town. For a volume of short stories, the relationships between characters are remarkably strong. Two and three pages at a time, the reader begins to see the tangled network of ties that bind the people from the neighborhood together....People from My Neighborhood isn’t a conventional book of linked short stories, and it is the relationships between each story that make the collection pop. Each story flows into the next, linked, not by a narrative arc, but by a common theme shared with the story that follows it....Kawakami’s is a book to keep on hand and to become intimate with: a book with which readers can have a relationship of their own.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hiromi Kawakamiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Goossen, TedTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A white cloth was lying at the foot of a zelkova tree. When I walked over and picked it up, I saw a child underneath. -The Secret
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"A bossy child who lives under a white cloth near a tree; a schoolgirl who keeps doll's brains in a desk drawer; an old man with two shadows, one docile and one rebellious; a diplomat no one has ever seen who goes fishing at an artificial lake no one has ever heard of. These are some of the inhabitants of People From My Neighborhood. In their lives, details of the local and everyday-the lunch menu at a tiny drinking place called the Love, the color and shape of the roof of the tax office-slip into accounts of duels, prophetic dreams, revolutions, and visitations from ghosts and gods. In twenty-six "palm of the hand" stories-fictions small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand-Hiromi Kawakami creates a universe ruled by mystery and transformation"--

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