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Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination (1956)

de Edogawa Rampo

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"Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination contains nine bloodcurdling tales by the author who is widely regarded as the father of Japanese mystery writing and Japan's answer to Edgar Allan Poe. The chilling stories in this book present a genre of literature largely unknown to readers outside Japan and combine the quick tempo of Western fiction with the rich fantasy of the East. These spine-tingling tales include the strange story of a quadruple amputee and his perverse wife; the record of a man who creates a mysterious chamber of mirrors and discovers hidden pleasures within; the morbid confessions of a maniac who envisions a career of foolproof "psychological" murders; and the bizarre tale of a chair-maker who buries himself inside an armchair and enjoys the sordid "loves" of the women who sit on his handiwork. Lucid and packed with suspense, the stories of Edogawa Rampo have enthralled Japanese readers for over half a century"--… (més)
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Apparently Japanese horror is just it for me. I loved this anthology. The body horror element to many of these stories is so high that I got the creepy crawlies under my skin. "The Caterpillar" in particular has really stuck in my head - I don't even want to write anything about it because I could never do it justice and you really just have to read it yourself. ( )
  katebrarian | Jul 28, 2020 |
Creepy confessions
why they did it, just kidding
bored greedy perverts. ( )
  Eggpants | Jun 25, 2020 |
Edogawa Rampo derived his pen name from the classic American thriller writer Edgar Allan Poe. And as such, [b:Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination Paperback|196150|Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination|Edogawa Rampo|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1172599521s/196150.jpg|189711] is a collection of short stories that emote the same sense of foreboding that his American counter-part did. Set primarily in the phantasmagoric culture of early 20th century Japan, each story captures the reader's imagination as it blurs the line between what is real and what is not. Prepare to question even what YOU think is true in this story of a story of a story. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
I enjoyed this collection of mystery stories. They made me think of Tales of the Unexpected, but less salacious. There are some grim bits in a couple of the stories, but as a whole the collection is more about mystery and human nature than it is about horror or spookiness. ( )
  missizicks | Mar 22, 2015 |
After reading and enjoying Edogawa Ranpo's novella Strange Tale of Panorama Island I decided to seek out more of his work. What better way to start than with Ranpo's debut in English? Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination, translated by James B. Harris and first published in 1956, was reissued in 2012 by Tuttle Publishing with an additional and quite useful foreword by Patricia Welch putting the collection and Ranpo into historical and literary context. Despite Ranpo's prolificacy, influence, and popularity in Japan, relatively few volumes of his work are available in English although his short stories can often be found in anthologies. In addition to being Ranpo's introduction to English-reading audiences, Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination is particularly interesting in that Ranpo worked very closely with Harrison on its translation.

Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination collects nine of Ranpo's short stories selected to represent some of his best work. Eight of the nine stories were originally written in the 1920s. The collection opens with what is perhaps Ranpo's most well-known story "The Human Chair." (At least, it was the story with which I was most familiar before reading the volume.) Next is "The Psychological Test" which features Ranpo's famous detective Kogorō Akechi. "The Caterpillar" is another story I was previously aware of and for a time was even banned in Japan. The collection continues with "The Cliff." Written in 1950, it is the most recent example of Ranpo's work in the volume. Other tales of mystery include "The Twins," "The Red Chamber," and "Two Crippled Men" while other tales of imagination include "The Hell of Mirrors" and "The Traveler with the Pasted Rag Picture." Though, as Welch points out in the foreword, Ranpo frequently blurs the lines of genre and many of the stories have significant crossover.

Ranpo is an incredibly clever and imaginative writer. Even when working with similar themes and plot elements, each story in Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination exhibits Ranpo's creativity in narrative technique and structure and he throws in enough plot twists that they all feel fresh. Each story is a little peculiar and each story is vaguely disconcerting--the erotic and the grotesque and macabre are no strangers to Ranpo's work--but in the end the tales are all different from one another. The culprits of his crimes stories are often undone by their arrogance, belief in their infallibility, or on occasion their guilty consciences, but the paths to their downfalls vary. Ranpo's more fantastic tales rely on subtle and not so subtle horror, but their thrills and terrors are all distinctive.

Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination is a captivating collection of short stories and would make a fine introduction to Ranpo's work for the uninitiated. If I had to choose, I think that I personally prefer Strange Tale of Panorama Island and its outrageousness slightly more, but the selections in Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination show evidence of the elements in the novella that I particularly enjoyed: the tight plotting, the light style of narration with slight touches of humor, the unexpected turns in the story, the inherent strangeness of the characters and their accounts. Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination has stood the test of time well. Nearly fifty years after it was first released, and more than a half-century since the stories were originally written, the volume remains an intriguing and engaging collection.

Experiments in Manga ( )
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Edogawa Rampoautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Harris, James B.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Serra, LauraTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Translator's Preface: Edogawa Rampo, the author of Japanese mystery stories, who is making his debut in the English language with the publication of this book, enjoys wide popularity in Japan.
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"Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination contains nine bloodcurdling tales by the author who is widely regarded as the father of Japanese mystery writing and Japan's answer to Edgar Allan Poe. The chilling stories in this book present a genre of literature largely unknown to readers outside Japan and combine the quick tempo of Western fiction with the rich fantasy of the East. These spine-tingling tales include the strange story of a quadruple amputee and his perverse wife; the record of a man who creates a mysterious chamber of mirrors and discovers hidden pleasures within; the morbid confessions of a maniac who envisions a career of foolproof "psychological" murders; and the bizarre tale of a chair-maker who buries himself inside an armchair and enjoys the sordid "loves" of the women who sit on his handiwork. Lucid and packed with suspense, the stories of Edogawa Rampo have enthralled Japanese readers for over half a century"--

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