Friday, November 19, 2004


Today's title, at least according to world lingo, translates as "a nice surprise" in Japanese.

So I love books that surprise me.

The mag I review books for is pretty cool, in that we meet once a month and pretty much pick whatever we want out of the piles of books that were sent in the mail from publishers. It gives me a chance to try things I wouldn't normally read. Sometimes it flops, and sometimes it soars.

I'm not exactly sure why I picked Kinki Lullaby. I don't usually go for mystery/thriller types, aside from a few noted exceptions like Elmore Leonard or George Pelecanos. I probably just grabbed it because I have an on-again/off-again fascination with all things Japan. I've put off reading it, probably just because it's a mystery. My own bias, I suppose.

It's actually pretty good. Well plotted, a strong narrator and it plays with and (in small ways) pokes fun at the whole noir style. What makes it really work are all the Japanese details. Bunraku theatre, a specific style of Japanese Puppetry, plays a huge part in the story. My own experience with Bunraku is limited to a special I saw on PBS several years ago, but I buy that Adamson knows what he's talking about and he makes good use of it within his story. And, partly because it's in Japan, the characters are slightly different than what you normally find in a mystery. Sure, there are the mobster types, the beautiful yet strange women, the almost competent police man. But they are skewed just enough to make them unique and interesting. There are a handful of moments, often just quick passages, that reminds me slightly of Murakami. Kinki Lullaby
is not that brilliant, but just an odd feeling here and there.

Anyway, Kinki was a nice surprise and I suggest it if you're looking for a good quick read. On the side, I started some research on Ladybugs to see what I can come up with for some kind of story. It's kind of fun discovering weird facts about those little bugs.

Tonight I'm going to the Samuel Delany/Octavia Butler reading and lecture at the Smithsonian. The weekend looks pretty busy for me, but I'll get my thoughts on it up here once I have a chance.

Until next time.



LadyLitBlitzin said...

Wow, that does sound like a cool book. I need to add that to my ever-growing reading list. And I'd like to hear some of these weird Ladybug facts. :)

As for your activity tonight, that sounds like fun, and I commend you. This week has left me feeling like I have been run over by a freight train full of stamping, snarling wildebeasts.

Hebdomeros said...

I feel that way from my weekend! Too much quality time with the family, I guess.

LadyLitBlitzin said...

Eek, family! I have that coming up on Thursday and Friday. It will be tremendously hard to be literary.