book review by ruru - vol. 2

Hello everyone, hope you are doing well :)

For this article, I’m going talk to you about some books I read this year. If you have already read my previous post, you know that I’m trying to read books from all over the world this year. I showed you Japanese, Korean and Czech authors. This time, I will show you Japanese, Egyptian, Moroccan and Spanish authors!



1. No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai / 『人間間失格』 太宰治 - Japan

This book is one of the most famous Japanese novels and we read one of the other novels by him, ‘Run, Melos!’ at school in Japan. So basically, he is someone who every Japanese person knows, even if they are not a big reader - he is that famous! I have this book at home but have never read it for some reasons until this year. Now, I don’t understand why I didn’t try and read this book for such a long time because it is so good! You can read a plot outline on Wikipedia. Not a big book, it is easy to read.

1冊目は日本人なら誰でも知っているだろう作家、太宰治の代表作。太宰治と言えば、国語の教科書で、「走れメロス」を読んだ記憶があるけれど、今の教科書にも載ってるのかな?今回紹介する人間失格は、話は知ってたけど読んだことはなかった、名作ってみんなも意外とそういうことって多くない?話は有名だし、ウェキペディアにもあるから説明はしないけど、本当にすっごく面白かった!私みたいに深い話、人間とは、みたいな話が好きな人にはおすすめ笑 難しそうに聞こえるかもしれないけれど、薄くて読みやすいので、普段読まないジャンルの人も是非挑戦してみてね。

2. Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi / 『0度の女』 ナワル・エル・サーダウィ - Egypt

My first ever Egyptian/Middle Eastern book was ‘Woman at Point Zero’ By Nawal El Saadawi.

She is a famous feminist, activist, and doctor. In 1972, Saadawi went to female prison and interviewed one of the female prisoners there, Firdaus, who had killed a man. Firdaus told her life story, which you can’t even imagine; sexually abused by her uncle, forced marriage, her abusive husband then became a prostitute etc…It’s just heartbreaking to read that someone had this life, along with many other women in history and even presently. Nawal El Saadawi herself was also imprisoned in 1981 due to a feminist magazine she published in the same year. There is almost nothing I can do to help women like Firdaus but knowing these women’s lives is the first step I believe in helping.


3. Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatema Mernissi / 『ハーレムの少女ファティマ』 ファティマ メルニーシー - Morocco

I read this book after ‘Woman at Point Zero’ and thought this will be excruciating as well, but no. Fatema Mernissi is a Moroccan feminist and author. The book is about her childhood in a harem in Morocco. Harem is a house for women ( they are family, mothers and sisters etc) and men can’t enter except for their family members (fathers/husbands/brothers etc). I believe harem is only for wealthy families (please correct me if I’m wrong) so life in there is not as hard as poor women, yet women in harems are not allowed to go outside without men’s permission and some women were desperate to go out and be free. The story is from little Fatema Mernissi’s eyes and she seems to be enjoying her life in the harem, where her mother and aunts take care of her and she has her cousins who she can play with, although she sometimes sees that her mother and aunts get frustrated and sad to be stuck in within the harem and couldn’t get an education. In the book, her mother and aunts told her ‘ You will have a better life than us, you will change the world.’ In fact, Fatema Mernissi became the first Moroccan female who obtained her PhD overseas.

4. The Boy Who Stole Attila's Horse by Iván Repila / 『深い穴に落ちてしまった』 イバンレピラ - Spain

This is one of the books that immediately make you get absorbed in. The story is about two brothers who fell into a big hole and are trying to get out from there. We don’t know their name, age, where they are and how they fell inside of the hole. It’s a bit dark and twisted. Highly recommend especially if you want to have a bit of a break time from your reality!


5. 『性のタブーのない日本』 橋本治 - Japan

Sorry this book is only available in Japanese! I have been very interested in folklore and mythology recently. The main theme of this book is history of sex/sexuality in Japan and the author sometimes references Japanese mythology and how sex/sexuality ware depicted in them. Unfortunately, this book is only available in Japanese, but I found lots books about Japanese mythology in English on the Internet if you are interested in it! According to one of the most famous Japanese mythology, Japan was born by two Japanese gods, Izanami and Izanagi, as they had sex. Also, you can find some Youtube videos and articles about Izanami and Izanagi myth in English.


English Edited by Lisa