The Akutagawa Prize Reading Challenge

I found the writing style of 博士 rather straightforward; really looking forward to reading another 小川洋子 book!
乳と卵 is much harder, especially if you’re unfamiliar with more casual language. The long sentences require quite a bit of focus (I can’t even imagine how much effort it would take to break them down formally), and if you aren’t familiar with how people (natives) tell stories, with switching perspectives without explicitly naming the other party / without using pronouns, use of active vs passive voice, ていた vs た, use of ます in a subclause to indicate a quote, and so on, I would imagine it’s quite difficult to keep track of the sentences.

In 雪国 the difficulty for me was more about being able to imagine the scene. There were sudden time skips, and due to the story being set almost a hundred years ago, some things / scenes / objects were simply unfamiliar. So sometimes I wasn’t able to make sense of a passage even when reading it several times; other times I just couldn’t be bothered.
乳と卵 is set in modern times, which takes away one hurdle at least. However the sentences really are about 4x the length, which makes it quite annoying to reread passages.

It would probably be quite difficult for the intermediate book club. I think at an intermediate stage it’s probably more beneficial to read books with a clearer sentence structure where you can properly analyze the grammar and where any grammar / context questions have a clear(er) answer. Like 容疑者Xの献身 for example. Of course you could try that with 乳と卵 sentences as well, but most of this casual sentence structure is probably really difficult to formally explain. (I‘m not saying it’s guesswork, but it’s probably more intuition-based?) Of course there’s value in analyzing and studying this writing style as well, but depending on someone’s previous exposure to this sort of casual rambling that you would normally find in a YouTube vlog of someone complaining about work or telling a funny story about their friends, I would imagine it to be quite painful to get through. For people who prefer to reread and analyze sentences frequently, it would probably be a lot of work. As usual, it’s probably easiest to check the sample pages for yourself.

Obviously not every part of this book is as extreme as the snippets I posted, but in general the sentences really are remarkably long. It’s a constant feeling of „wow, this sentence is long, where does it even end?“ and „I want to reread this part but it takes ages to even find the start of the sentence“.

Edit: rereading some parts of the book though, I have to say, the writing style really is quite fun. You can imagine the conversations and her inner monologue really well.

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