Rashomon and Seventeen other Stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Translated by Jay Rubin



I never though I could find myself this immersed in a book before and finish it this quickly. The last time I finished a long book this quickly was 4-5 years ago when I read Jonathan Stroud’s “The Amulet of Samarkand” in one night. This was a good book to start reading the night of my birthday. What a real treat indeed!

I was expecting to finish this AFTER “A Man of All Seasons”, which I was already over halfway done with and I got there from only two days worth of reading…but nope. This beat it to the finish line. It was that addicting…almost as addicting as sugar it was!

My mom picked up this book from Powell’s after seeing the movie. Not hearing of this author before, I picked it up because of its errors cover and was hooked! I finished the 236 (268 if you count the afterwards and the notes) page behemoth of short stories and a short novella.

There is something really creepy and superb in the way Ryonosuke Akutagawa writes his stories. He is really good at describing what he’s trying to convey. However, the final three stories (which were both autobiographical and semi-autobiographical) of this collection were a bit tricky for me to read sue to the suicidal undertones of each and every one of them (Ryonosuke commit suicide when he was 35, and at the end of his last two stories he left notes stating that there was no point in him living anymore. Creepy and lachrymose all in one package)! The autobiographical ones are mostly about him just observing why he’s on Earth and wonders what his purpose is. I have never ever read an author who put suicide notes in their stories but there’s gotta be a first time (it’s sad as hell so be warned).

Ryonosuke did stories that included horror, cynicism, comedy, drama, realism, and of course, beauty. Every single one of his stories is beautifully written and you can tell that he was passionate about what he was doing (excluding the later ones). He was definitely a genius and of course deserves having a Japanese literary award named in his honor. This man really deserves it.

The best story in here was probably “The Bamboo Grove”, which tells the story of a murder from the perspective of many people…including the spirit of the murdered! A very, very compelling and short story indeed.

If he had not killed himself, I wonder what other work he would have produced. For such a short writing career, he was indeed a prolific writer.

In his memory, please pick up this book and at least give it a try. This man is a genius and needs more love for what he created.

<a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/23003918-erin-the-avid-reader-currently-resides-in-sleepy-hollow”>View all my reviews</a>


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