📚 Éclipses japonaises,
by Éric Faye
Historical fiction / Japan / Korea
Not yet available in English
A few weeks ago, I explained two ways I now have of dealing with my TBR.
My second way os simply to pick a random title (with random generator number) from the books I added to my TBR the month before.
So for a book to read in March, the title randomly chosen among those added to my TBR in february was Éclipses japonaises (not yet translated into English. Litt: Japanese Eclipses).
And why did I add this book to my TBR?
First, anything with the word Japanese in the title attracts my attention (just say the word “Japanese” and I wake up!).
Plus I read Nagasaki by the same author a few years ago, and gave it “5 Eiffel Towers”!
So I thought it was time to read more by him.
And I was right!
I have read a couple of books (Les Évaporés and Respire related to people voluntarily evaporating in Japan (the Jōhatsu), to start a new life, for various reasons.
Faye’s book is also on people disappearing (mostly) in Japan, but this time not on their own choice.
This is based on historical facts, which I had actually never heard about.
We meet various characters who all disappear in this way, and are found again, bit in North Korea.
Why were they taken, and brought there?
This was a fascinating novel, with lots of details on the life of each character.
And neat changes of narrators.
It felt a bit like a jigsaw puzzle to put back together.
It reads like literary fiction, like a spy novel, like a thriller: you decide to walk on this street and not on that one, and then you never know what can happen to you. Life would have been so different if you had taken the other route.
It was also fascinating to see how people tried to reinvent a new life, when no other option was open to them.
All the elements related to language were also an added bonus for me.
It’s also about what makes your personal and national identity, about family history, about the perception you have of your own country and foreign countries.
And about your dedication to your country.
The author seems to know really well the social and historical context.
As an aside, it was fun finding there a reference to Nils The Wonderful Adventures of Nils which I read recently!
“Il ne faudrait jamais se demander pourquoi. Ici, d’ailleurs, c’est un mot que l’on n’entend jamais.”
Éric Faye is really an excellent author. Alas, very few of his books are available in English.
So try at least Nagasaki – Grand Prix du Roman de l’Académie française (2010)
VERDICT: Wonderfully crafted, on an element of North Korean history not enough known.
I’m glad this random pick was so successful. I love the sound of this, and the mystery element is very appealing 😁
It is, though at the same time this page of history is so sad
Not read it, or anything by this author, but it sounds fascinating and an episode in history that perhaps should be better known.
Absolutely! Though there has been some documentaries
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This sounds compelling.
What an awesome random pick to check out! I like the sound of it, especially the whole idea that all of a sudden, anything can happen to you. Thanks for sharing! 😀
Very intriguing! Based on fact?! Sounds scary.
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