Bugging & debugging life

January 22, 2007

Books read

Filed under: Fiction — femalebug @ 3:48 pm

I have read 2 books this weekend, In the Miso Soup by Murakami Ryu and The Stranger Next Door by Amelie Nothomb

In the Miso Soup is a novel about loneliness, failed dreams and lack of identity.

It presents the sex industry in Japan through the eyes of an American serial killer, Frank. He is introduced in the underground world by Kenji, a guide for Western tourists looking to get laid. The tension builds up, there are some violent scenes and an unsatisfactorily ending with a conclusion on a bridge.

It promised a lot at the beginning but failed to deliver. I expected more insight on how and why Japan society is different. Questions were asked but not answered. It felt like seeing the tip of the iceberg.

The Stranger Next Door is short and captivating. Disgusting and repulsive characters are presented with a black humor.

The plot involves a happy couple of professors that just moved to their retirement house and are looking forward to spend the rest of their lives in an idyllic village. Their life is interrupted by their neighbor, doctor Bernardin. He comes to their house every day for two hours but doesn’t make any conversation, only answers questions in monosyllables.

After living all their live in a peaceful and polite way, the professors are incapable of reacting and turn the neighbor out. They struggle to understand him and help him and his wife to no avail. Violent emotions emerge and draw the end to a close.

The veil of civilization falls down to show the urges that drive us.



  1. I like a person who write about books..
    i not like a person who sayd…movie was better.

    Nice blog.

    Comment by paracelsus — February 25, 2007 @ 9:28 pm

  2. Just read the book myself after having been hooked onto Haruki Murakami, I was recommended this other Murakami.

    I agree with you totally. Started off promising but ended up being one-dimensional. As a result, I found the book unbalanced and while the author nicely developed the story and the characters of Frank and Kenji, after the bar incident, it flat-lined. Ending was a bit too open ended for my liking. Looked like he killed the book because it was going no where.

    Comment by DD — January 26, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

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