Advanced Japanese Book Club // Next: アンダーグラウンド

檸檬 (角川文庫)

Author : 梶井基次郎

Summary

Japanese

私は体調の悪いときに美しいものを見るという贅沢をしたくなる。香りや色に刺激され、丸善の書棚に檸檬一つを置き–。現実に傷つき病魔と闘いながら、繊細な感受性を表した代表作など14編を収録。

English

(My rough translation)
When my physical condition gets bad, I feel like indulging in the luxury of looking at beautiful things. To be stimulated by fragrances and colors, to put a single a single lemon on a shelf of Maruzen (note: shop name)… While being hurt by reality and fighting against a chronic illness, (the author) recorded 14 short stories including the eponymous masterpiece, displaying a delicate sensitivity.

Length : varies; if we go for the 14 short stories selected by Kadokawa, 276 pages
Category : hard

Availability

Amazon: the book is here but all stories are available in the public domain
Aozora bunko (eponymous story; all others can be found the same way).

Personal Opinion

I do not know anything about this book or author. I was checking the length of books from 夏目漱石 and 太宰治 on amazon and it just popped up as a recommendation. According to Wikipedia:

“Lemon” is one of Kajii’s few works to have been translated into English. Although he was a relatively unknown writer during his short lifetime who published in a few literary magazines, Kajii’s poetic short stories are recognized today as masterpieces in Japan. The eponymous story “Lemon” is known as his representative work.

I’m pointing specifically at the 角川文庫 collection, so that we all read the same set of short stories :joy:

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Public domain!
  • Older writing, so may be challenging?

Cons

  • The “poetic” part and mentions of disease in the summary make it sound like it might be on the depressing side. May not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Pictures “Sample” (aka the whole thing)

Again, public domain

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know
0 voters
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