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Tokyo Ueno Station: A Novel af Miri Yu
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Tokyo Ueno Station: A Novel (original 2014; udgave 2020)

af Miri Yu (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1867111,088 (3.84)27
"Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, Kazu's life is tied by a series of coincidences to Japan's Imperial family and to one particular spot in Tokyo; the park near Ueno Station - the same place his unquiet spirit now haunts in death. It is here that Kazu's life in Tokyo began, as a labourer in the run up to the 1964 Olympics, and later where he ended his days, living in the park's vast homeless 'villages', traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics." -- c Provided by publisher.… (mere)
Medlem:konigsburg
Titel:Tokyo Ueno Station: A Novel
Forfattere:Miri Yu (Forfatter)
Info:Penguin Random House USA (2020), Edition: 01, 192 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Tokyo Ueno Station af Miri Yu (2014)

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» Se også 27 omtaler

Viser 1-5 af 7 (næste | vis alle)
A wistful novel about an observant life deemed unworthy by the one who lives it. The character is homeless, and the story shows how the homeless are perceived in a metropolitan park. The conversations of other people overheard are reminiscent of Wings of Desire. ( )
  Perednia | Feb 20, 2021 |
Kazu in the Bardo
Review of the Tilted Axis Press paperback edition (2018) translated from the Japanese language original JR上野駅公園口| (JR Ueno Station Park Exit) (2014)

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT
Tokyo Ueno Station with its ghost protagonist hovering in the post-life Buddhist bardo was guaranteed to remind me of the Booker winning Lincoln in the Bardo (2017). I had mostly the same reaction to Saunders' similarly meandering work, but the ambition of its having 166 protagonists got me to stretch it into 3-star territory. Tokyo Ueno Station remained in the 2-star zone.

There is admittedly some sweep through history in Station's ironic comparisons between the sheltered life of the Japanese Imperial Family and that of the protagonist Kazu. Kazu overlooks his past life as a migrant worker who ends up homeless in the Park grounds near to the Ueno Railway Station in Tokyo. There is an enormous amount of digression as he tells stories about the Emperor, the Station, the Park and its various Museums, his family and their tragedies, differences between Buddhist sects, Buddhist funeral rituals, the various Japanese Olympics, descriptions of roses (Confession: I started skimming through those last ones rather quickly) etc. None of these are accompanied by any helpful footnotes, nor did the book provide any introduction or afterword. I ended up Googling for information to supplement my reading e.g. about the Ueno Park Buddha, the Ueno Station, the 2011 Earthquake and Tsunami etc.

The overall impression is just too out of focus and left me skimming to get through it.

To end on a positive note, the cover image for this Tilted Axis Press edition seems to have been commissioned specifically for the English translation. It is quite an effective representation of the scenes in the book, esp. the phantom protagonist front bottom and centre with a transparent figure for a head. As good a work of art as it is, I would rather have had the money spent on a scholarly introduction, footnotes and afterword to provide contexts and explanations.

Trivia and Links
I read Tokyo Ueno Station due to its inclusion in both the 100 Best Books by Women in Translation* list and its tentative inclusion in the 2020 Borderless Book Club. The BBClub podcast does not include any posting for it though (was supposed to have been December, 2020), so that meeting & discussion analysis must have been cancelled.

*The ranking of the Goodreads Listopia for the 100 Best Books by Women Writers in Translation is subject to additional voting by Goodreads members. The original ranking as voted in August 2019 is available at Meytal Radzinski's (aka Bibliobio's) blog. ( )
  alanteder | Feb 20, 2021 |
A lonely, melancholy story that is mercifully short. The depictions of homelessness are well done. ( )
  texasstorm | Jan 27, 2021 |
This spare and short novel tells the story of Kazu's life from his point of view after death. From the lyrical prose, we learn that he became homeless in Tokyo late in life, and suffers many regrets, chiefly that he left his young family to move to Tokyo to earn money. The death of his adult son, whom he never really knew, heightens his grief, and results in a short span of time living with his wife and reacquainting himself with her before her death. We learn a bit about Japan's history during and after World War II, and the glimpse of the firebombing of Tokyo is especially powerful. Overall Kazu's life is tragic throughout, but this novel avoids being relentlessly sad thanks to the portraits of the people Kazu encounters while homeless. The conversations he happens to overhear and recount are particularly well done. ( )
  sleahey | Jan 15, 2021 |
‘’I used to think life was like a book: you turn the first page, and there’s the next, and as you go on turning page after page eventually you reach the last one. But life is nothing like a story in a book. There may be words, and the pages may be numbered, but there is no plot. There may be an ending, but there is no end.’’

Our journey starts in a park near Ueno Station as Tokyo is preparing to host the 2020 Olympics. A voice is heard above the buzzing streets of the metropolis, a voice whispering of misfortune, failed hopes, injustice and death. A voice from a ghost for Kazu is dead, one of the many hopeless residents of the park. Now, he becomes our guide to the stormy history of Japan through the ages, the social unrest, the changes and the expectation of an uncertain future.

‘’I was always lost at a point in the past which never could go anywhere now it had gone, but has time ended? Has it just stopped? Will it someday rewind and start again? Or will I be shut out from time for eternity? I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know.’’

Kazu is desperate for a sense of existence. He has been struggling with the ordeals that Fate and humans threw in his way and now he doesn’t know whether he even belongs with the dead. Eavesdropping the daily conversations of the visitors of the park, observing the homeless, he returns to the land of the living and his own life. Linked to the Imperial family through a series of random events, he comments on the futility of being a servant of the state and takes us on a journey within the disputes and changes that shaped the history of Japan. In a park where every tree has a plastic tag attached to its trunk, he is reminded of the fact that everything belongs to the Emperor. What a title, though, in a world where every ‘’empire’’ has fallen to pieces!

‘’One cannot tell when or where each rose is blooming, whether it is in a garden or a flowerpot; whether it is sunny, or cloudy, or raining; whether it is morning, or noon, or night, whether it is spring, or summer, or autumn.’’

Kazu has physically lost all sense of the world around him, yet his perception is more acute than ever. His memories are a tapestry of poverty and struggle in a country that has fallen apart due to its actions during the Second World War and the atrocities it has committed. Hit by the constant rain that reminds him of the ultimate nightmare, the loss of his son, the rituals of death performed in a society chocked by industrialization and the dark presence of nuclear power plants. The roses have lost their colours and their perfume and moments of cruelty are always present.

Hidden behind a beautiful, powerful front cover, lies a bitter observation of a society that has changed, a society that is supposed to have learnt from the past. But has it? To what result? And to what end?

‘’We all have an enormity of time, too big for one person to deal with, and we live, and we die.’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com/ ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Aug 29, 2020 |
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» Tilføj andre forfattere (1 mulig)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Miri Yuprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Giles, MorganOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Peters-Collaer, LaurenOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet

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"Born in Fukushima in 1933, the same year as the Emperor, Kazu's life is tied by a series of coincidences to Japan's Imperial family and to one particular spot in Tokyo; the park near Ueno Station - the same place his unquiet spirit now haunts in death. It is here that Kazu's life in Tokyo began, as a labourer in the run up to the 1964 Olympics, and later where he ended his days, living in the park's vast homeless 'villages', traumatised by the destruction of the 2011 tsunami and enraged by the announcement of the 2020 Olympics." -- c Provided by publisher.

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