Underground is a collection of interviews of the victims of 1995 sarin attacks in the Tokyo subway system. The interviews don’t just provide information about the attacks from the perspective of those impacted, but also paint a picture of the daily lives and priorities that were interrupted on that day.
Geisha, A Life is the memoir of Mineko Iwasaki, who lived in Kyoto’s Gion Kobu district during the 1960s and 70s and was a highly successful geisha through her retirement at age 29. Iwasaki was a chief informant for Arthur Golden’s Memoirs of Geisha which (somewhat confusingly) is a novel, not a memoir. Geisha, A Life is a less sensational (but still fascinating) peek into the daily life of Iwasaki from childhood through her retirement.
I also read and enjoyed two novels this month, both of which unfolded slowly as they explored the quirks of their characters. The Lake is a novel set in modern-day Tokyo that slowly reveals the past of its two main characters as they grow closer. Norwegian Wood is a coming-of-age novel set in Tokyo in the 1960s with themes of love, sex, and death.
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