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Snakes And Earrings (originally Published In Japan As Hebi Ni Piasu)

by Hitomi Kanehara
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Dutton Adult
  • Publishing date: 19/05/2005
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780525948896
  • ISBN: 0525948899

Synopsis

An underground world.
A murder.
An international phenomenon.
Snakes and Earrings. . . .

Describing a world as amoral and fascinating as the landscapes of Less Than Zero and Trainspotting, this novel about a young woman living in the violent world of Japan?s underground youth culture is both shocking and strangely beautiful.

Enchanted by the snake-like tongue of a stranger called Ama, nineteen-year-old Lui takes a walk into another side of life. On the Tokyo streets, she finds a world where pain bleeds into pleasure. Where day fades into night. And where right turns into wrong.

An international bestseller.
Winner of the Akutagawa Prize.
Translated by David James Karashima.

?A powerful portrait of the post-bubble generation.?
?The New York Times

"Snakes and Earrings won't get you arrested, but as you flip these pages, don't be surprised if you're looking over your shoulder.... Hitomi Kanehara fearlessly takes us into a world as inexplicable as Narnia and conveys us with graceful tenacity into the labyrinthine realm that makes up renegade Japanese youth culture."
--J. T. Leroy


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  • "Then must you speak of one that lov'd not wisely but too well."
    From Amazon

    Scratch the surface, and Kanehara Hitomi's debut novella here is just about the oldest tale there is. Yes, the good old-fashioned love triangle. "Snakes and Earrings" is in structure pretty much a contemporary permutation on this oldie but goodie that's worked for everyone from Murasaki Shikibu to Natsume Soseki, not to mention a host of romance novelists. And it works rather well here too, drawing readers into the drama and involving them--probably despite themselves, because on its surface the story is raw and repellent, grim and graphic. Set among the urban punk subcultures of Tokyo, there's the aimless girl protagonist with her vernacular nihilism, her ostensible boyfriend with the dragon tattoo and forked tongue who's gentle but prone to violent extremes of jealousy, and his friend and her lover the kindly sadistic tattoo artist (a backstabber in more ways than one, I suppose). Cue here a lot of unsettling body modifications and even more unsettling rough sex and throw in a bit of booze and then some extremely unsettling unsolved murders and you realize how amazing it is that you even care what happens to these folks. But you do, so hats off to Kanehara on that score.

    If it sounds like she's torn a few pages out of Murakami Ryu's playbook, though, she likewise has a similar ability to hide little mines of serious transcendence in the sludge: the tattoo artist's aesthetic dedication and concentration, realistically amateur speculations on theology, descent into slow death and gradual resurrection. You have to really dig for these, though, whether because of the author's skill or lack thereof is somewhat hard to tell. In fact, the novella as a whole has many of the telltale marks of being a first effort, like a promising but still unripe sample from a college creative writing class. Kanehara often makes the mistake of telling rather than showing. The storytelling can be clumsy and artificially obvious in spots, and the characters not always consistently rendered. The ending is abrupt and largely unconvincing. And yet for all that, the story has a lot going for it and, while no classic, is definitely a worthwhile read from a writer with a lot of potential. Besides, if nothing else, bizarre love triangles are never boring.

  • off the beaten path
    From Amazon

    A short, freaky yet moving book about a young Japanese woman and her two boyfriends. If you have ever wanted to know why people get piercings and tattoos and do other weird things to themselves you will find out that... they don't know why either. Not my usual fare but I really enjoyed it.

  • Snakes and Earrings
    From Amazon

    I loved the book. It's a slice-of-life story set in modern Tokyo. Focused only on the three characters, the girl and her two lovers, you really feel like to know the characters, and whether you love or hate them, they are real, very human, very vulnerable and very sad. I love the emotions, the true-to-life dialog and action, and the vivid descriptions.

  • Fabulous
    From Amazon

    Easy read...didnt hurt that i couldnt put the book down...passion...desire...unfaightfulness...all the elements for a wild ride and an unforgetable ending...

  • Stark but beautiful
    From Amazon

    This novella deals with the subjects of sadism and the meaning of life, which is as unlikely a pairing as any, but somehow works.

    I found the story to be utterly odd, definitely explicit and vulgar for much of the 120 pages, but also containing unexpected beauty on every page.

    I don't think it's fair to make completely black and white assumptions about this edgy book, because it gives one plenty to think on.

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