BOOK REVIEW: HEAVEN (2021) BY MIEKO KAWAKAMI

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (latest in her review series of new Japanese novels) – People often dwell on the existential concept of death and what it means to die. But what does it mean to be born? To be alive? For the beautiful, talented, and wealthy, life would seem to be a cornucopia of joyous excitement and…

BOOK REVIEW: THE EASY LIFE IN KAMUSARI (2021) BY SHION MIURA

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (latest in her review series of new Japanese books) – Are you feeling disillusioned with the relentless hustle and colorless monotony of metropolis living? Do you feel like another cog in the capitalist machine? Do you crave a simpler life? Consider adopting and adhering to the daily…

BOOK REVIEW: SOUL LANTERNS (2021) BY SHAW KUZKI

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (latest in her review series of new Japanese books) – How does a global war affect regular people caught in its wake of devastation? How long do those effects linger on and how should a society react to them? Shaw Kuzki’s heart-wrenching tale, Soul Lanterns (2021), aims…

BOOK REVIEW: ASTRAL SEASON, BEASTLY SEASON BY TAHI SAIHATE

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (latest in her review series of new Japanese books) — Adolescence in Astral Season, Beastly Season (2020) is a frightening and tragic nightmare that haunts a person endlessly. The teenage mind is pried apart in Tahi Saihate’s unusual coming-of-age story to reveal a deep-seated psychology of obsession.…

BOOK REVIEW: THE HOLE BY HIROKO OYAMADA

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (in the third of three reviews of new Japanese books) – Oyamada’s protagonist is not much different from Alice who fell down the rabbit hole. As Asahi descends deeper down the chasm, reality itself tears at the seams and breaks open, folding in all around her. The…

BOOK REVIEW: EARTHLINGS BY SAYAKA MURATA

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (in the second of three reviews of new Japanese books) – As you read this thoroughly entertaining yet gruesome tale, you will wonder, is this narrator mentally ill? Or does the problem lie in an evil society where humans are reduced to being baby-making, money-making cogs in…

BOOK REVIEW: BREASTS AND EGGS BY MIEKO KAWAKAMI

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES (in the first of three reviews of new Japanese books) — The title of the novel itself poses a compelling question: does pregnancy and what comes with it (having both breasts and eggs) determine the destiny of the female body? Breasts and Eggs (2020) tells the story…

KAZAKHSTAN: ETHNIC KAZAKHS IN XINJIANG

ELLA KELLEHER WRITES — Many are already aware of how the Uyghur people are interned at “reeducation” camps in Xinjiang, the Western province of China. Few realize, however, that ethnic Kazakhs have also been subjected to the same mass extermination and forced labor. Mainstream media propagates that both ethnic Uyghurs…