Joining a Chinese book and a Japanese book in a post just because they are Eastern is as stupid as presenting an English one and a French one together because they are Western. But still, here they are.
SIJIE, Dai: Once on a Moonless Night.
“[…] a young French girl travels to Beijing to study Chinese. She soon finds a boy […] who won’t take long to confess he is secretly concerned about finding the missing parts of a mysterious manuscript […].”
Irrelevant as my opinion might be, my ignorance taken into account, this is a readable yet dispensable book. It tells the life of the two main characters, who find out about the different owners of the manuscript. Despite displaying some aspiration to introspection, it feels like a mere legend told in parts by two random youngsters.
YOSHIMOTO, Banana: Asleep.
“Three young girls who go through a difficult period in their life are the main characters of these beautiful stories that explore the abyss that opens below when everything seems to go to pieces and there is just the void left.”
Three independent stories share the fact of finding answers in dreams in this book. Depression paints the — let’s say — curious plots. Asleep succeeds in creating the mystical aura the previous novel couldn’t provide even in a Buddhist context. Furthermore, it’s short. It’s the perfect book to fill the gap between dense novels. I just wonder: Why would anyone choose Banana as a pen name?