Week 3: 虐殺器官 ☠🗡🫀 (Advanced Book Club)

Week 3

Start Date: Feb 24th
Previous Part: Week 2
Next Part: Week 4
Home Thread: 虐殺器官 :skull_and_crossbones::dagger::anatomical_heart:
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Reading

A Start date To read Num pages
Week 3 Feb 24th end of Part 2 ch 3, p115 49

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I thought IDアイディーイングられない was an interesting bit of language and furigana use. You don’t often see a verb inflection attached to a non Japanese stem like that.

5 Likes

Ooof, I made it through. That was a lot of reading to handle this week, lot more than I usually did. Hopefully I will have enough time to stick to it for next weeks.
It’s the third week and we’re around 27% of the book, in terms of the number of characters it’s around 50% of the book that is now going on in the intermediate book club.

Regarding the contents of this week’s part of the book, the political bits in the Pentagon by the end were pretty complex and hard for me to get an overall grasp on what is happening, but the interesting mystery for me is the one that questions what is the connection between the person that was killed in the previous part and John Paul, who seems to be the upcoming target for the next chapters. I’m pretty sure they won’t go into much detail about that, since they kind off left it uncovered and continued into revealing the mystery of some kind of co-worker that helps John Paul.

2 Likes

Yeah, we’re over a quarter of the way through and the pacing is interesting. I guess this is going to be a sort of slow motion pursuit where we keep failing to quite catch up with John Paul but gradually figure out more about what is going on. The author also seems happy to have a lot of slower paced scenes – that entire mission briefing scene at the pentagon seemed like it had a lot of side bar stuff in it (does the history of Somalia matter to the story now JP has moved on and we’re going to the Czech Republic? is the lady who did the bit of the briefing for the private military corporation going to show up again, or was she only there to allow the worldbuilding about military outsourcing?) and we spend also a lot of time in the protagonist’s head one way or another.

I liked the little dig about how it seems very natural to the US that they need to get involved in fixing up stuff happening in other countries across the world.

Don’t we already know that? JP was doing whatever mysterious trick he has to stir up civil war and violence in that country; his official role was minister of culture and information; when he’d done what he set out to do, he moved on, leaving the defence minister to take the blame, and unable to understand how he ended up presiding over all the killings. The US guys come in, assassinate the defence minister, but JP isn’t there. In this chapter we get another story of JP doing pretty much exactly the same thing in Somalia: takes some kind of PR/comms role, country takes unexplained slide into chaos, local politician left holding the bag and unable to explain why he did what he did, JP slips away. I don’t expect the story to return to either country.

3 Likes

Now that you summarized it, it makes much more sense, thank you :smile:

2 Likes

It definitely felt like a lot to get through this week. Not necessarily the number of pages but the pacing as well. I echo above sentiments about some details/ tangents in the scene at the Pentagon seeming somewhat unnecessary, which bogged things down for me. The author seems to want to explore lots of different themes in conjunction with the events of the main narrative, leading to conversations that are only tangential to the main plot, or inner monologues from the protagonist about various topics. Lots of pages this week but not too much narrative progression.

The book seems to have the intention to comment on things such as American intervention globally, as well as purpose and meaning in life, especially given Alex’s suicide at the start of this part and his religiosity being mentioned a lot, along with the main character being an atheist having been mentioned several different times. And of course, the recurring dreams involving his mother. I am curious to see whether the book has anything particularly novel or thought provoking to say on these topics.

This book is definitely very different from any other book I’ve read in Japanese, which makes it interesting just from that. The use of lots of English words in katakana definitely gives it a unique writing style and I feel must be an intentional choice to make it feels more western. I actually tried reading this book a while back but felt the first 30 or so pages were a slog so put it down after that (I definitely need to focus a lot compared to reading other books in order to really comprehend this one), so I’m glad it’s been chosen by this book club as having a set schedule is making it a lot more digestible and less daunting for me.

2 Likes

I struggled a bit with the vocab in the political sections this week, but I think I’m following most of the parts that matter. The pacing doesn’t really bother me since I think it would go a lot faster if I had the level of literacy the author probably expects from his readers :sweat_smile:

1 Like