[Looking for nominations!] Intermediate Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: セーラー服と機関銃

おばちゃんたちのいるところ

Author: 松田青子
Page count: 261
Natively: Not listed yet, but I have requested for it to be added.

Summary

Japanese

追いつめられた現代人のもとへ、おばちゃん(幽霊)たちが一肌脱ぎにやってくる。失業中の男に牡丹灯籠を売りつけるセールスレディ、シングルマザーを助ける子育て幽霊、のどかに暮らす八百屋お七や皿屋敷のお菊……そして、彼女たちをヘッドハントする謎の会社員・汀。嫉妬や怨念こそが、あなたを救う!? 胸の中のもやもやが成仏する愉快な怪談集。

English

A busybody aunt who disapproves of hair removal; a pair of door-to-door saleswomen hawking portable lanterns; a cheerful lover who visits every night to take a luxurious bath; a silent house-caller who babysits and cleans while a single mother is out working. Where the Wild Ladies Are is populated by these and many other spirited women—who also happen to be ghosts. This is a realm in which jealousy, stubbornness, and other excessive “feminine” passions are not to be feared or suppressed, but rather cultivated; and, chances are, a man named Mr. Tei will notice your talents and recruit you, dead or alive (preferably dead), to join his mysterious company.

In this witty and exuberant collection of linked stories, Aoko Matsuda takes the rich, millennia-old tradition of Japanese folktales—shapeshifting wives and foxes, magical trees and wells—and wholly reinvents them, presenting a world in which humans are consoled, guided, challenged, and transformed by the only sometimes visible forces that surround them.

Availability

Paperback (Amazon)
eBook (Kindle)

Personal Opinion

I really like the premise of the book: a modern and feminist retelling of traditional youkai stories. I have been meaning to learn more about youkai and when I came across this book, I thought this might be even more fun than reading (about) the original stories. Not only could we discuss the stories in this book, but we could also discuss the original versions and what choices the author made when ‘updating’ them to modern times. The brief story descriptions (which some might consider spoilers, so I have hidden them in the summary sections) look very whimsical, so I think it’d be an entertaining read. The fact that there are 17 individual stories also means it would be a very forgiving book; if you get behind, you can just skip a few stories without losing the plot. Finally, there is an English translation available, which (I hope) lowers the threshold for people to join from the Beginner’s Book Club.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Looks like a fun, light read
  • An opportunity to get better acquainted with youkai.
  • English translation available
  • 17 stories, so easy scheduling :wink:

Cons

  • You might have to be familiar with youkai to get the most out of it?
  • The ‘feminist’ angle might turn some people off? Though I don’t think it’s feminist in a preachy sense

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages



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

12 Likes