Before the Coffee gets Cold

“Before the Coffee gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi (Japan) Review There were mixed feelings about this book, with most readers not really getting into the story at all and some enjoying it a lot. They found the first part a bit unconvincing, with a lot of repetitive passages which they felt slowed down the pace. But they agreed that the remaining three parts flowed better. … Continue reading Before the Coffee gets Cold

The Travelling Cat Chronicles

“The Travelling Cat Chronicles” by Hiro Arikawa (Japan) Synopsis Set against the backdrop of Japan’s changing seasons and narrated with a rare gentleness and humour, Nana’s story explores the wonder and thrill of life’s unexpected detours. It is about the value of friendship and solitude, and knowing when to give and when to take… Read more Review The four shortlisted books for this year’s Summer … Continue reading The Travelling Cat Chronicles


“Parade” by Shuichi Yoshida (Japan) Review From a first novel to a first attempt at a new genre by a well-known writer, this year’s Summer Reading selection of crime fiction covered a wide range of writing styles. Readers’ opinions varied from book to book, so it was no surprise that “Parade” won the Best Summer Read 2015 by a slight margin. “Parade” is set in … Continue reading Parade

I Am A Cat

“I Am A Cat” by Soseki Natsume (Japan) Synopsis ‘I am a cat. As yet I have no name.’ So begins one of the most original and unforgettable works in Japanese literature. Richly allegorical and delightfully readable, “I Am A Cat” is the chronicle of an unloved, unwanted, wandering kitten who spends all his time observing human nature – from the dramas of businessmen and … Continue reading I Am A Cat

The Lake

“The Lake” by Banana Yoshimoto (Japan) Review Mystical and mysterious were some of the words readers used to describe this book that they thoroughly enjoyed. Most were familiar with the author having read other of her books and they liked her writing style, which they found captured the atmosphere well. They were drawn to the two protagonists feeling a mixture of sympathy and interest for … Continue reading The Lake

The Woman in the Dunes

“The Woman in the Dunes” by Kobo Abe (Japan) Review The first impressions of members of the Book Club were very mixed: some liked the book, whereas some did not like it all! They found the situation the protagonist finds himself in very depressing. The repetitive shovelling of sand daily made them think about the absurdity and seeming futility of life. His acceptance of the … Continue reading The Woman in the Dunes

Some Prefer Nettles

“Some Prefer Nettles” by Junichiro Tanizaki (Japan) Synopsis and Review “Some Prefer Nettles”: each to their own taste Written in 1929 and generally considered one of Tanizaki’s finest works, “Some Prefer Nettles” deals with the ramifications of a collapsing marriage. Within this context, which seems to be autobiographical, it also examines the conflict between traditional and modern (i.e. Westernised) culture in Japan. The protagonist, Kaname, … Continue reading Some Prefer Nettles