Book review and Friday Face Off: The Hunting Gun

Friday Face Off

The Friday Face-Off was originally created by Books by Proxy:
each Friday, bloggers showcase book covers on a weekly theme.
Visit Lynn’s Books (@LynnsBooks) for a list of upcoming themes.
Please visit also Tammy at Books, Bones & Buffy (@tammy_sparks)
thanks to whom I discovered this meme.

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This year, there’s no weekly theme, you just choose a book you have recently read.

On Wednesday, I finished reading a Japanese short story (for the Japanese Literature Challenge), that has a nice collection of covers.
Actually a whole bunch of covers were not really relevant, just pasting a Japanese theme picture, like Mount Fuji!

But there are bascially three important themes in the story (a love triangle; snakes inside our heart; a man walking in the mountains with a hunting gun), so I selected covers featuring one of these themes.
And I actually ended up (not intended) with a reverse triangle, which is totally relevant to this very sad love triangle story!
As I had not posted my review yet, you have a bonus with the review here below.


Click on the picture below if you want to identify the various editions
You can also right click and ‘open image in new tab’ to zoom in

The Hunting Gun

All these covers are actually interesteing, but I think the Finnish (that might be the first time I go with a Finnish cover!) edition is really clever, with the triangle image, but also a bleeding heart, or a blood tear.
And now to my review:

The Hunting Gun

The Hunting Gun
by Yasushi Inoue
Translated by Michael Emmerich
was first published in 1949
Published in English by Pushkin Press
in 2014
112 pages
Japanese short-story/Literary fiction

It counts for The Classics Club
and the Japanese Literature Challenge

I had only read one book by Yasushi Inoue, Les Dimanches de Monsieur Ushioda (not available in English transaltion, as far as I’m aware). It didn’t completely awe me, though I know Inoue is considered one of the best Japanese classic authors.
So I decided to give him another chance with this short story: The Hunting Gun.

Click to continue reading


Book review: Okamoto Kido: Master of the Uncanny

Master of the Uncanny

Okamoto Kido:
Master of the Uncanny
Selected and translated by Nancy H. Ross
168 pages
10/10/2020, by Kurodahan Press
Short stories
– originally publisghed between 1897 and 1931

Read for the Japanese Literature Challenge 16
It counts for The Classics Club

This is a wonderful collection of slightly spooky stories inspired by old legends –we even meet a few samurai.
There are ghosts, or possible evocation of ghosts, and possible elements of horror, but it’s all done with subtlety and even poetry. They are sometimes gloomy, but not hair raising scary. So I think the title given to the collection as Okamoto Kido: Master of the Uncanny is very well said.

Click to continue reading

Japanese Literature Challenge 16


Japanase Literature Challenge 16

#JapaneseLitChallenge16   #JapaneseLiterature

Thanks to DolceBelleza (@bellezzamjs) who has been organizing this challenge for many years! This is my 8th participation.
Click on the BEAUTIFUL logo to read more about it, to join us, and to read reviews as they will be posted.

The Challenge runs January-February 2023.
I was planning to read 6 books, but January is starting crazy busy this year, so not sure how well I’ll do with this. But anyway, as usual, I’m planning on reading more Japanese lit all year around.

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Here is my TBR (in chronological order) for this event – my recap, with links to my reviews when they become live.

This year, I have MOSTLY chosen classics, so they also count for my Classics Club’s 4th list.

The above were plans, and the result ends up quite different, with only 3 classics read, and 5 graphic novels/manga that were not on my radar originally!
I’m almost done listening to
I Am a Cat, and definitely planning on reading more Japanese Lit this year. I will add the titles below

  1. Shuna’s Journey (1983), by Hayao Miyazaki
  2. Hell Screen (1918), by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa review here below
  3. Okamoto Kidō: Master of the Uncanny (1931), by Okamoto Kidō
  4. Cat + Gamer #1, by Wataru Nadatani (2019) manga
  5. Cat + Gamer #2, by Wataru Nadatani (2019) manga
  6. Astra Lost in Space #1, by Kenta Shinohara (2016) manga
  7. Astra Lost in Space #2, by Kenta Shinohara (2016) manga
  8. The Hunting Gun (1949), by Yasushi Inoue


  1. I am a Cat (1905), by Natsume Soseki – currently listening
  2. The Honjin Murders (1946), by Seishi Yokomizo
  3. The Sound of the Mountain (1953), by Yasunari Kawabata

I had just read Hell Screen when I created this post, so I posted the review here:

Hell ScreenHell Screen, by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa
First published in 1918
This edition:
Translation by Jay Rubin
58 pages
2/1/2011 by Penguin Group

I had already read In a Grove and Rashoumon by Akutagawa, but the two stories presented here are very different in style.
I think it was a great editor choice to actually put together in the same book these two short stories: Hell Screen and The Spider’s Thread.
They both deal with terrifying characters and hell, within the genre of old tales, legends, fantasy, and horror.

In Hell Screen, among stories related to the great Lord Horikawa, the author focuses on one in which we meet the very gifted artist Yoshihide. The problem is, to paint truthfully he needs live models, so for instance he doesn’t hesitate torturing servants to be able to paint people in pain. Then one day, Horikawa commissions him to paint a folding screen portraying scenes from the eight Buddhist hells. And the painter asks for a live scene of hell to be able to finish his painting in truth…

This was a rather terrifying story, with an expected outcome – it was easy to guess who was going to be burning in a carriage falling from the sky.
I actually didn’t know about the eight Buddhist hells. Some descriptions of sinners pertaining to all stations of life sounded very close to The Divine Comedy, or to paintings by Bosch!

In The Spider’s Thread, we start in Paradise, but from there we see a robber in hell: Kandata. He doesn’t seem to have Yoshihide’s repulsive characteristics, but we discover Kandata’s true nature when he’s given a chance to get out of hell.

It was interesting to discover a very different style in Akutagawa’s short stories.