Abandoned Part 2: Decided

For different reasons I was just not enjoying these three novels. It will probably take a good convincing argument for me to retrieve them from the icloud.

Perfidia by James Ellroy

America stands at the brink of World War II. Last hopes for peace are shattered when Japanese squadrons bomb Pearl Harbor. Los Angeles has been a heaven for loyal Japanese-Americans – but now, war fever and race hate grip the city. The Japanese internment begins and a Japanese family have been brutally murdered.

I love the setting and story of this novel. It is the first Ellroy I have read and I really wanted to enjoy it. However, I have become confused with the names of all the police characters. Who was that? Was he the one who…? Which one’s the boss? Who’s in charge? Where’d this guy come from? Maybe I hit a tough chapter while a bit sleepy but I haven’t felt compelled to try again since.
Thank you to Random House (Cornerstone) for a copy of the title to review.

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The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide

A couple in their thirties live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo. They work at home as freelance writers. They no longer have very much to say to one another. One day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. She is a beautiful creature. She leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again.

I thought this short novel would be perfect for the Japanese Literature Challenge. I imagined it would be perfect to finish in one sitting on a relaxing afternoon: a novel of insightful observations with a deeper comment on the childless nature of so many Japanese families. While I knew it would be a novel of musings rather than plot driven, I just couldn’t get into it. Unfortunately it just didn’t pique my interest and I didn’t really care about the relationship the couple developed with the cat. I read a thoughtful review of The Guest Cat from Rare Bird who sums it up by saying it is most likely a flat translation. I agree.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan for a copy of the title to review.

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The Extraordinary Journery of the Fakir Who Got Trapped in an Ikea Wardrobe by Romain Puertolas

Armed only with a counterfeit 100-Euro note, Ajatashatru the fakir, renowned conjurer and trickster, lands in Paris. His mission? To acquire a splendid new bed of nails. His destination? IKEA. And there he decides to stay, finding an obliging wardrobe in which to lay his head.

I loved The Hundred Year Old Man by Jonas Jonasson and have seen a proliferation of similar quirky novels since its publication and success. I have avoided all of them but decided to give The Fakir a try. It is a light hearted comedy and I suspect I may have enjoyed it in a different context. The Fakir was a little bit too much of a caricature and for some reason AllTheRunOnWordsThatShowTheFakir’sCompetanceInEnglish annoyed me. Perhaps the book is just too lighthearted for my liking. Maybe I would have stuck with it if it was under 200 pages. The Hundred Year Old Man still remains my benchmark.
Thank you to Random House (Vintage) for a copy of the title to review.

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