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Life Ceremony: Stories de Sayaka Murata
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Life Ceremony: Stories (2019 original; edició 2022)

de Sayaka Murata (Autor)

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844279,284 (3.94)Cap
"With Life Ceremony, the incomparable Sayaka Murata, whose Convenience Store Woman has now sold more than a million copies worldwide, returns with a brilliant and wonderfully unsettling collection, her most recent fiction to be published in Japan. In these twelve stories, Murata mixes an unusual cocktail of humor and horror and turns the norms and traditions of society on their head to better question them. In "A First-Rate Material," Nana and Naoki are happily engaged, but Naoki can't stand the conventional use of deceased people's bodies for clothing, accessories, and furniture, and a disagreement around this threatens to derail their perfect wedding day. "Lovers on the Breeze" is told from the perspective of a curtain in a child's bedroom that jealously watches the young girl Naoko as she has her first kiss with a boy from her class and does its best to stop her. "Eating the City" explores the strange norms around food and foraging, while "Hatchling" closes the collection with an extraordinary depiction of the fractured personality of someone who tries too hard to fit in. In these strange and wonderful stories of family and friendship, sex and intimacy, belonging and individuality, Murata asks what it means to be a human in a world that often seems very strange, and offers answers that surprise and linger"--… (més)
Membre:kelseyreed
Títol:Life Ceremony: Stories
Autors:Sayaka Murata (Autor)
Informació:Grove Press (2022), 256 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:Cap

Informació de l'obra

Life Ceremony de Sayaka Murata (2019)

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My friend often teases me for my love of Japanese literature. “It’s so weird, with so many random things going on,” she says. I don’t think I’ll tell her about Life Ceremony because even I was jolted out of my comfort zone by some of the topics discussed in the 13 short stories in this book.

The stories contained within the book take human rituals (think sex and funerals) and turn them on their head, sometimes bordering on the taboo. They also look at the use of human bodies in different ways – furniture, clothing and even cannibalism. Food and what is normal to eat is also considered in several stories. Relationships and their roles in society are also considered in a novel, different way which seems to be a Murata trademark. Some of the stories had a bigger ickiness factor for me than others, but trying to look beyond that, Murata is very clever in how she exposes and challenges what we consider normal. Take the ‘life ceremony’ mentioned in several of the short stories. It’s what we would know as a funeral, but with a grotesque twist – the eating of the corpse which culminates in a mating ritual with the intention to procreate. It seems normal to many of the character except a select few, who are seen as weird and abnormal by others. Other stories have a piece of household furniture taking on human feelings and two children keeping an unusual pet. Some stories are more straightforward – friendship between girls and women and another woman who adapts her personality in different settings to fit in.

The stories all have a sense of being the outsider – thinking or acting differently to the cultural norm. Many of the characters are ashamed by their otherness, while a select few revel in it. While some of the stories shock, it’s never for no reason. Murata uses the shock factor to show discrepancies in the way humans think and act, and to ask the question if what we believe and do is actually right. The stories are written clearly – no smoke and mirrors here. They are always engaging, even if the subject matter is uncomfortable.

Thank you to Allen and Unwin for the copy of this book. My review is honest.

http://samstillreading.wordpress.com ( )
  birdsam0610 | Jul 30, 2022 |
Twelve stories from Japan, tales about love, food, relationships, life and death. Sayaka Murata offers a mix of stories that raise questions about how we live, what we consider acceptable and more than once goes beyond the red line of our comfort feeling. It is not always easy to follow the characters, to dive into Murata’s world and not to be appalled but to remain open minded. The author does not specify if the plots are set in today’s Japan, at some point of the future or in an alternative reality, it remains for the reader to decide. Having read “Earthlings” and “Convenience Store Woman” I already knew that the author has a talent to reaching my emotional limits and this she succeeds again with her stories.

Some of the stories left a deeper impact on me than others. Among them the one that also provided the title for the short story collection, “Life Ceremony”. The idea of eating human flesh was beyond my imagination even though I liked how the protagonist was drawn and her emotions transmitted.

Food in general seems to be a topic in Japanese literature, after recently having read “Butter” by Asako Yuzuki, I already had the impression that the sensual aspect is something that plays an important role, maybe because a highly controlled society does not grant itself the luxury of such feelings.

Relationships, types of families also are touched upon several times, can two women qualify as family and can a couple experience love without ever having intercourse? The stories invite you to ponder about many questions and to scrutinize your position and attitude when it comes to the deviation of the common.

A wide range of short insights into lives that move unnoticed among people even though they are at the fringe if their nerves. ( )
  miss.mesmerized | Jul 10, 2022 |
to-read
  Alf4 | Mar 6, 2022 |
‘’A hundred years later, what would our bodies be used for? Would we be chair legs or sweaters or clock hands? Would we be used for a longer time after our deaths than the time we'd been alive?’’

Sayaka Murata’s stories defy genre, time and place. We are transported to an alternate reality and we move on to an almost psychedelic future before we return to contemporary Japan. The characters of her stories are women who are burdened - although they’d never confess it - by a desperate need to belong, to be liked. However, Murata’s version and depiction of what we would define as ‘’Love’’ is not only highly arbitrary but dubious, suspicious, oppressive. It is a mirror of society’s projections, artificial aspirations, a strange kind of idolatry that leads nowhere.

Sayaka Murata marries the abstract, the eerie and the mundane and proves she is one of the most exceptional writers of our time.

A First-Rate Material: A couple is planning a wedding but the future spouses don’t really see eye-to-eye in a story that depicts a time when it is acceptable, fashionable even, to make all kinds of objects from dead humans.

A Magnificent Spread: In a humorously absurd, yet poignant story the woman is about to meet her fiance's husband and his sister is there to help her with the dinner table. But the eating habits of the diners are strange. Too strange...An interesting commentary on how eating is a product of each culture and its significance in the forming of our identity.

A Summer Night’s Kiss/ Two’s Family: Another lady who has had her two children through artificial insemination contemplates kissing and sex while her best friend, her lifelong companion, is fighting for her life. The memories of society's prejudices are still painfully acute. Such a moving, tender story!

The Time of the Large Star: A girl and a boy meet in a land where the moon is adored, the sun is hated and sleep does not exist.

Poochie: If you have readEarthlings, Murata’s writing won't come as a surprise. This is a (very short) story of a girl that decides to have a middle-aged man as a pet.

Life Ceremony: This is a world where sex for pleasure is frowned upon. Where pregnancy is a result of insemination during a ‘’Life Ceremony’’. Will women have to produce the humans that will secure the existence of our species. When mourners consume the flesh of the deceased to conceive a child. This story is strange and twisted and beautiful, but proceed with caution because you may find it deeply disturbing.

Body Magic: Two teenage girls explore relationships and sexuality, ignoring the preconceived notions of their classmates.

Lover on the Breeze: A beautiful blue curtain watches a girl falling in and out of love.

Puzzle: A young woman newly arrived in Tokyo sees and experiences the functions of our bodies in a vastly different way than her colleagues.
‘’I could hear the voices of some people outside, but they were speaking in a foreign language, so I didn't understand what they were saying. As I listened, the voices began to resemble the calls of animals. In my mind they overlapped with the night presences I had sensed on the other side of the torn window screens during those childhood summers, and before I knew it, I had fallen asleep.’’

Eating the City: The hunting for weeds in Tokyo and the simple act of eating become metaphors for navigating and experiencing life in the metropolis, for the memories of childhood.

Hatchling: A bride-to-be narrates the evolution of her five “personalities” that were created out of her desperate need to be liked by everyone. We all develop “faces” we deem appropriate to every interaction but Is there a real ‘’us’’ buried deep inside us or are we truly vacant?

‘’Look, at this point in time, there are five me’s existence. I can't choose which one to be by myself. So I want you to choose which one you want.’’

Many thanks to Grove Press and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Mar 5, 2022 |
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"With Life Ceremony, the incomparable Sayaka Murata, whose Convenience Store Woman has now sold more than a million copies worldwide, returns with a brilliant and wonderfully unsettling collection, her most recent fiction to be published in Japan. In these twelve stories, Murata mixes an unusual cocktail of humor and horror and turns the norms and traditions of society on their head to better question them. In "A First-Rate Material," Nana and Naoki are happily engaged, but Naoki can't stand the conventional use of deceased people's bodies for clothing, accessories, and furniture, and a disagreement around this threatens to derail their perfect wedding day. "Lovers on the Breeze" is told from the perspective of a curtain in a child's bedroom that jealously watches the young girl Naoko as she has her first kiss with a boy from her class and does its best to stop her. "Eating the City" explores the strange norms around food and foraging, while "Hatchling" closes the collection with an extraordinary depiction of the fractured personality of someone who tries too hard to fit in. In these strange and wonderful stories of family and friendship, sex and intimacy, belonging and individuality, Murata asks what it means to be a human in a world that often seems very strange, and offers answers that surprise and linger"--

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