Please read the guidelines on the first page before adding any words.
What sentence/passage gave you the most difficulty? Feel free to request some help, or if you figured it out on your own break it down for the rest of us!
What was your favorite new vocab word from this week’s reading?
Was there any passage that you found particularly intriguing? Did it resonate with you (either positively or negatively)? Was it surprising? Offer any insight or new perspective? Was it just beautifully written?
Done! I really enjoyed the final story. There was a ton packed into those four short pages.
Every story in this collection focused to some degree on giving up some sort of personal agency for the sake of what’s “fashionable”, and this final story drove the point home.
I thought it was pretty funny and very typically Murata to have our protagonist reading popular guidebooks about 死に方 and worrying about what others say and about what’s trendy right up to her last breath from the tube sticking out of her hole.
セミ snacks (殺人出産 already feels like a lifetime ago), トリプル sex, クリーンブリード, and now 死に方. Looking back all these stories really do seem to go together. It’s interesting to see the same types of problems crop up in each one of these very different worlds that Murata’s created.
Congrats to everybody who has finished! I know for me personally finishing a book is still no small undertaking. It’s been really fun reading with everybody and I’m psyched to start the next book.
Edit: Also, quick reminder to check off this book on Natively!
Caught up just in time!
To annoy you again with the discussion I started in Week 14:
Even the husband now says
„I couldn‘t really tell the difference between being inside you and being inside that machine. […] Therefore, it didn’t even feel like I did something with another human.“
I agree with everyone doubting the logistics, but I don‘t see any other interpretation, really.
The husband getting sick from the girl saying ママ was also very interesting. I assume this is because he is imagining this (for him) sexual act as being part of their 家族? I wonder how this realization changes his views on having children, and if he actually wants to go through with it now.
I agree. It was a very short story, but it did feel like a satisfying ‘whole’. I think it’s a testament to Murata’s talents that she can give us something to ponder in such a small number of characters. I think your observation is spot on, @jhol613. I look forward to seeing how this theme of conformity is reflected in our next pick!
Also, why does the pharmacist give the protagonist vitamin pills…? Seems pointless if she’s going to die anyway?
Damn, I really liked that last super short story. Was a neat surprise. I thought it would be over after the end of Clean Marriage. The book was great and I’m looking forward to the next and I’m glad that it’s gonna be three short stories again. It’s always a bit hard to keep track of what’s going on when reading longer things over the span of so many weeks.
Same here! I didn’t realize there was a final story. I think it qualifies as my second favourite, after 殺人出産. On the one hand, there is some commentary about the dignity of being able to chose your own death (which considering that countries such as my own are starting to legalize medically assisted dying, is pretty timely) - but also, that humans are capable of making a mess of a good thing and even fall pray to trends when it comes to death.
I am also of the opinion that him being sick is a combination of hearing the “mama” as a call back to his age play, but also also just… the indignity of it all? Prior to going, both of them mention that the entire process will likely be harder for Miseki, yet in the end he’s the one who ends up being quite grossly violated.
As a side note, for some reason, I kept on imaging the Blue Danube waltz playing during the procedure, which made the thing so much more comical in my head, ha.
Everything @jhol613 said was spot on. These stories all had aspects of fitting in with society: the two bookend stories focused on something unusual that became a societal norm, and the two middle ones about people looking for alternatives to what society deems “normal.”
For the ending to 清潔な結婚, I thought several things: first, I thought him being sick having to do with his own fetish, and the realization that there may be complications for him should the two have a child; second, that his wife describing his sickness as being like morning sickness could indicate that the procedure had them switch roles (logistically, that makes no sense, but thematically there is the idea that his experience was more like a birther than a typical man’s role in a similar situation); and finally, that the procedure didn’t take, considering the narrator kept mentioning that her husband’s semen was leaking out of her.
I loved how 余命 was both meditative in tone while still providing the kind of world building we’ve come to expect from 村田先生. I’m honestly blown away by how effective it was considering how short of a piece it is. The おまけ bit was funny in a sardonic way. I definitely could’ve read more from this world, but it’s pretty perfect the way it is.
I’m finally on to 授乳!!! So much closer to being on par with everyone else!
Many couples in their twenties or thirties chose to die together.
People suddenly got +10 years in English version…
and drank the mineral water containing the drug I’d been given
Does the Japanese version mention anything about dissolving the drug in the water?
I thought she just swallowed the pill and after that drank the water.
Before medical care had become so advanced, death had apparently been something that came unpredictably. A drug would be the best way, I thought, given that I would have to bury myself. I wanted my death to be as unobtrusive as possible.
Did the translator… confuse 楽 and 薬?
From where “unobtrusive” comes from? 気にしてセンス? (for me it was more about following the trends/not causing gossip, and less about not being “obtrusive” but I guess one could argue that causing gossip is being “obtrusive”? maybe?)