Week 1: パノラマ島綺譚

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パノラマ島綺譚 Home Thread

Week 1


Start Date: October 23rd
Next Part: Week 2


Week Start Date Chapters covered End Page Kindle LOC Kindle % Page Count
Week 1 Oct 23 1-3 20 ? ? 14

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I mentioned a couple of places, but just before this I coincidentally read 獄門島 by Seishi Yokomizo, who was a contemporary of Edogawa Ranpo, is also a famous and prolific mystery writer, and apparently edited the magazine where Panorama Island was first published. So there’s interesting parellels and the two stories are both obviously island-centric (although 獄門島 came out 20 years later than Panorama so it’s not like they’re identical).

I’m going to try to avoid comparing them every week, but I thought the contrast between how the two stories begin is pretty interesting. 獄門島 begins like this:


Compared to Ranpo’s “M県” business (I guess that would be one of three possibilities, huh?), Yokomizo practically gives the exact GPS coordinates, name, and even measurements of the island he wants to tell you about, before going into a detailed discussion of the island’s history. I think it illustrates their styles and strengths really well - Yokomizo’s introduction reminds me of someone recounting a local scandal that was the biggest news to ever happen to a small town, that everyone living there could tell you the whole details about to this day and some true crime podcast is surely going to cover it one of these days, while Ranpo’s introduction reminds me of someone talking about their favorite abandoned ruin, lingering on the rumored, forgotten backstory that you can only guess is at-best only half true, without telling you exactly where it is so it doesn’t become well-known and ruin the mystique.

I think both are interesting! Though I will say Yokomizo’s detail hooked me immediately while I think Ranpo has a bit of a slow start here… I’m starting to feel the suspense build for what strange or ghastly thing might be around the corner but we’re still comfortably in set-up territory.

Is the pace ok?
This felt a little bit short after the heavier style, accent, and page count of 乳と卵, but maybe it’s worthwhile time to get used to differentiating the 併し’s from the 若し’s? I’m not sure how much of it is him personally and how much is it being the 1920s, but Ranpo does have a distinctive way of writing, 相違ありません.

Incidentally, I looked up some of the utopian books mentioned since they’re quite obscure - it sounds like our protagonist (?) is captivated by Edgar Allan Poe’s The Domain of Arnheim more than William Morris’ News From Nowhere which he in turn prefers over Étienne Cabet’s The Voyage to Icaria, for what that’s worth. Tempted to read at least Arnheim just out of curiosity. This is not the first time I’ve seen Ranpo namedrop many books.


I just sat down intending to read the first three chapters, only got through the first. :laughing:

Then again, judging by @rodan’s comment, maybe I’m just reading too slow. Anyway, good start. Consider me intrigued.


No worries, my rhythm’s probably just thrown off from 獄門島 (“isolated island, stuff went down there, you’re gonna tell me about it, got it got it, I know the drill, let’s go!”) :sweat_smile:


Well, I’ve been reading one chapter every night while brushing my teeth, so I guess it feels kinda short per chapter? Or maybe I am brushing for too long. Anyway, that’s a convenient pace for me, since I don’t have to focus too much on this club.

Well, I haven’t read the 3rd chapter yet properly (that would be tonight), but I’m pretty surprised by the difference in impression I got from each one so far.
Chapter 1 gave me an impression of mystery, weird things happening, maybe even supernatural elements (could have been a lovecraftian story, I feel).
Chapter 2 introduced me to a character who seems to suffer from ADHD inattentive type, as far as I can tell.
Chapter 3 starts like it’s going to be a comedy/dramedy where he takes the place of the rich dude to build his utopia. (Again, I have only read a couple of sentences, I’m just putting things together from the other two chapters).

Haha, I also wondered what’s up with that :joy:


Stop showing off :roll_eyes:


Is it showing off? :sweat_smile: If so, I’m sorry about that.

Edit: I decided to read chapter 3 after posting that to make sure, and it took me ~5 minutes, according to the posting time, so I think it is short, though?

The third chapter was short yeah but that doesn’t mean it took me 5 minutes…


+ showing off your impeccable dental hygiene, I mean how dare you.


The individual chapters are definitely very short, but I tried stacking them to match the “harder reading, slower pace” we did for 人間失格. (It’s possible I was measuring by smaller pages though.)

I think at the end of the day though, Ranpo’s style is definitely difficult, but it’s difficult in a way that’s less like, experience-proof than 人間失格 or 乳と卵 (which we read with a faster pace anyway), since he’s telling the story in a relatively straightforward way, just with old-fashioned expressions and kanji usage etc. So if you can grok those quickly, it’s quick, but it takes some getting used to to be able to do that. I know The Human Chair took me much much longer earlier this year without having any prior experience with that stuff, for example.

So perhaps that just means we’ll all be brushing our teeth and blasting through chapters by the end! :grin:
I don’t really want to change the schedule anyway since it’s so neat


Reading anything has been difficult for me recently. Much less while brushing my teeth. :laughing:


Oh it’s me! Only I started a week late. I’ll try to adopt naphthalene’s a chapter a day strategy until I’m caught up again, which should be by next week if I manage to keep it up.

So far, I’m loving the kanji. I get the feeling we won’t need an srs outside of this book to learn a few new (old) readings. :smiley: There were one or two sentences that had me re reading for a bit, but other than that it felt alright. Could have used another break, maybe, but I liked the setting of the scene, and the relationship between narrator and reader.