I would warn this one’s a rough section.
Not necessarily content-warning level but here’s a spoiler-y comment about this week’s reading if you would prefer to be on the safe side:
I found the prolonged, somewhat fetishistic murder described herein to be a bit much. Definitely a less fun topic for a horror sequence than rotting corpses in my book… And not really where I was hoping the plot would go. Ah well.
To pull back the curtain a bit, a couple of weeks or so ago I read through the rest of the novel and noted down comments at each break so I had something to talk about in each thread, and for this week my notepad just says:
warn it’s a rough one
And alas whatever stunning insights I had in mind are lost on me now.
I’ll definitely have plenty to talk about next week with the end of the novel though, so I hope you all bear with it!
At the beginning of Chapter 21, I’m already lost. Actually, I don’t think the end of the previous chapter really sunk in to begin with. What’s up with the 人肉団子数珠 around the 擂鉢 steam bath? Am I misreading something or forgetting some earlier exposition?
EDIT: After reading those few paragraphs over and over a few more times, it looks like it was just a big bath orgy that looked like a mass of human meatballs? The constant 肉 imagery put some strange images in my head that were hard to override though.
I don’t think you necessarily missed anything. I just took it as the climax of the magical/dreamlike aspects of the island, that they just get absorbed into (or at least held aloft on) this roiling singing mass of naked flesh.
And yeah, like in your edit - I think it’s up to you how much to interpret it as just them having like, a big ol’ bath orgy into the night vs. the almost Junji Ito-y way it’s described.
It certainly seems like at the very least, their grip on reality is overwhelmed at that point and their consciousness slips away from what their doing, so the description being the way that it is I think emphasizes that and makes it sound especially weird and disorienting, even as it’s apparently pleasurable (or at least disarming) in the moment.
Everyone but them being gone as they wake up at the start of the next chapter and it being more grounded to start off with in general gives a bit of a party / hangover vibe too, I think.
Well, I powered through and read all of this week’s reading today. I agree that things did not go the way that I was expecting (especially since I’ve seen the movie “Horrors of Malformed Men” which is partially based on this book), but I thought that the imagery in this section was particularly beautiful. This includes the aforementioned murder scene, which finally delivered on Rampo’s reputation for the grotesque and perverted. So yeah, I enjoyed it.
Uh, yeah. Imagery.
(I mean, it’s not the worst by far; I guess I mostly got a knee jerk reaction “wait sea stuff again stop”)
The worst for me was that the author made the murder sound particularly sexual. I’m also so sad she didn’t get away When she bit him good and got away at first, I was sure that it would be how he gets found out and lose…
By the way, how is that movie? It’s coming up soon in one of my backlog queues but I thought I should try to read this and 孤島の鬼 first (which is indirectly part of how this club ended up happening come to think of it)
Yeah, the “it was like a game! They were both sort of into it!” aspect was hard to accept, even with panoramic illusion magic factored in. I can buy that would cover joining in on the flesh tsunami, but being murdered… maybe not.
I also feel like… if hypothetically I had a beloved husband that I noticed had been replaced by an obsessive revenant… “love” probably wouldn’t be mixed into my complicated feelings about that.
I probably wouldn’t mind it as much if the book were more explicitly written from his perspective though. I can buy HE thinks that’s how she felt!
It’s too bad we don’t get an “Escape from Panorama Island” sequence… It could have been an interesting chance to see the island in a new way outside of his guided tour.
I loved the movie! But then again, I like that kind of stuff (weird, twisted Japanese horror movies from the '60s). Now, having read this book, I realize that the parts that come from this book are mainly the setup and the fact that there’s an island. So it didn’t spoil much past the first few chapters.