I always love Japanese-themed novels. I remember having a particular phase in my reading life in which I want to read anything Japanese even if the author is not from the country. Anyway, this particular title catches my attention just with its quirky cover and the author’s name belonging to Japanese. Since it looks like it’ll have to do something about self-destruction –I like self-destruction and teen-angst in fiction as I hate them in real life— that I decided to give this one a try.
The novel is about Lui (short for Louise Vuitton) whose suddenly become enchanted by the snakelike forked tongue of a stranger called Ama. Following Ama, Lui straightaway moves in with him and begins making plans to have her tongue pierced. Ama’s friend Shiba designs an exquisite dragon tattoo for her back as Lui wants to push further her boundaries. And that’s when Ama’s jealousy stirred which makes up the turn of events.
This is such a short novel that I can consider this as a novella for I finished this in one day. There is nothing cool about self-destruction but the way the author tells her story makes me want to stare at her characters and admire them from afar, commenting that weird they are but can’t help yourself wanting to be friends with them. I also want the creativity of the book, having this tiny ink-blot like thing taking it first as dirt of some stuff, which goes larger as the page go by in which turns out to be Lui’s pierced tongue hole. And a plus for being new to pierced stuff –although I have my right lobe pierced—the descriptions on how you can achieve a fork tongue makes me bite my own while reading.
Although I cannot say much and comment on what has happened at the end and just leaves things at it is, I guess it is okay for me to say that the author writes in a commanding way and gagged us so we can’t say something.
The author was awarded the Subaru Prize for Literature in 2003 and was one of the youngest authors ever to win Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize, in 2004 for her first novel (this one), Hebi ni piasu (Snakes and Earrings).
Opening Sentence: “Know what a forked tongue is?”
Ending Sentence: Then I turned to the sun, and I squinted into its unrelenting brightness.