I just finished The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai, which was a much appreciated Christmas gift. (Yes, I realize it’s not Christmas yet, some presents have to be opened early.) It was mailed to me by one Jamie Rich, but the wrapping itself said it was from Lance (from The Everlasting). I can see why Mr. Rich would like it, I can’t wait to see why Lance thought it important for me to read. (Yes, I am a big dork who gets over invested in characters, but HE started this one!)
The Setting Sun refers to the decline in the aristocratic class in Japan in the 1950s. The book follows the experience of Kazuko, a young aristocrat, her ailing mother, and dissolute brother as they attempt to transition between feudal and modern society, between the Japanese way and Westernization. A lot of time is covered in not a lot of space by the use of flashbacks and letters, to the point that now I can’t really say for certain what the time span of the book is, but that works since the family seems to be kind of suspended in time. The prose in translation reminds me somewhat of Hemingway, but there’s more symbolism, little happenings are given huge significance as they mirror and foreshadow the inevitable events of the story. It’s an excellent book and I need to read it again.
I’ve finished the proofing of the first draft of Cover Songs, so those of you who claim you want to read it will be getting your copies soon. Overall, I have to say I don’t think it’s too shabby for a first attempt at writing a novel. We’ll see if I feel the same after a little while of not reading it.
Coming soon: My Top Books of 2004! I know you’ll all be waiting on pins and needles for it, but really, why sit on pins? Choose a nice comfy chair and I’ll be there soon.
Current Total: 112
Just Finished: The Setting Sun by Osamu Dazai