I wonder what Human Flesh tastes like – Justin Isis

Published on April 21st, 2011.

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)

Chomu Press

  • http://yonasu.com/ yonasu

    I’m not a fiction reader myself, which is why I referred them to you instead. And now I kind of feel like I shouldn’t have done that! The main reason why I don’t read fiction is because I’ve never come across one that really captivated me. But maybe disgust is the way to go for me.

    How long are the stories? If I’m going to read it, they better be pretty short^^

    • http://twitter.com/Ami1982 Amy

      about 30-40 pages for most of them..the last one is longer, about 83 pages (give or take, cause I just flipped through it quickly and counted)

      The first story, nanako, was difficult for me. The main character seems ok, but then slowly get’s really weird. I didn’t like how he saw Nanako, he was disgusted with her, yet infatuated at the same time. That’s the part that interested me the most.

      The quest for Chinese people is this guy who learns there are more Chinese than the rest of the world, and becomes obsessed with that statistic. He wants to know why he isn’t included, etc/ Its a bit strange, but a really good read.

      I guess should have mentioned that when I was writing the review :| Oh well. I didn’t want to make it too long and boring, because I wasn’t sure how a book review would be received. ;P

    • http://yonasu.com/ yonasu

      30-40 pages huh, sounds perfect to me. I’ll have to read it sometime^^

    • http://twitter.com/Ami1982 Amy

      yes, you should. Let me know what you think of it when you do.

  • http://twitter.com/yaadayaada Loc Lam | ロックラム

    This book sounds disturbingly good. So did any of the stories answered what human flesh tastes like?

    • http://twitter.com/Ami1982 Amy

      There is a story within the book called, I wonder what human flesh tastes like, and as far as I could tell….no. lol

  • Synthetic samurai

    i find it’s tough to do reviews where the goal is to help others decide if they should experience it as well, without giving a lot away, but you did a great job with this. Congrats you’ve convinced me, and I’ve added this to my amazon wish list., thank you. – http://syntheticsamurai.posterous.com/

    • http://twitter.com/Ami1982 Amy

      :) Thank you, that makes me happy to hear! ^^