I wonder what Human Flesh tastes like – Justin Isis
This book takes place in modern day Japan, and is a series of 10 short stories written by Justin Isis.
Before my review I just want to make it known that I am not a writer, nor am I literary critic. I am simply reviewing this book as a book lover, and to share my thoughts with everyone. I will read just about anything, but if it has anything to do with Japan, no matter how small, I will definitely pick it up.
I was really excited to be able to take part in reviewing this book for yonasu.com and chomu press, I couldn’t wait for my copy to arrive in the mail. When I finally got the book and opened it up I suddenly felt totally out of my league.
First of all, these stories were very different from what I would normally read. I’m always open minded about when it comes to reading, but the only thing close to this is some of the strange stories my best friend (who is taking her Masters) makes me read.
The fact that I had not encountered anything like this put me off at first and to be completely honest, I didn’t think I would like it. I read the first story “Nanako” and felt, well, disgusted. I found myself disliking the narrator, and the way he spoke of Nanako. However, reading further, it seemed much more complex than what I had originally thought.
The stories have a disturbing feel to them, and I can’t quite place my finger on the exact emotion that I feel when reading. It’s something like disgust, fear and curiosity. It’s like I am witnessing something I shouldn’t be.
I have to say that I really enjoyed “The quest for Chinese people“ and “Garden of sleep“. I feel out of the whole book, those were the best stories. While as a whole I experienced more negative like feelings while reading, I found these two really piqued my interest. I wanted to know more about the main characters, and why they were doing the things they were doing. What prompted them? It’s hard to say much without re-telling the story, but they really kept my attention. They were quirky, but still believable.
I think for most of us here, these stories are very different from what we would be used to. Assuming we are not all taking our Masters Degree in literature? I think that Justin Isis was able to engage me in his stories in a different way than I am used to. They were definitely not written to give us a feel good feeling, but almost to challenge us to face subjects that are a bit strange and disturbing, and not the norm.
If you are interested in something different, give it a try.
But you don’t have to take my word for it. (cue the reading rainbow music)