The Blue Summit

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Short Stories Challenge – The Blue Summit – Randy Taguchi from the collection Fujisan.

Published July 1, 2013 by bibliobeth

Fujisan

The Blue Summit – What’s it all about?:

Randy Taguchi is a popular Japanese author who has written fourteen novels, along with countless short stories and essays. This recent collection of stories revolves around Japan’s Mount Fuji, one of the three Holy Mountains in the country. The mountain becomes an anchor for each of the characters lives, and remains a steady, looming presence in each tale. Our first story – The Blue Summit involves a former cult member working part-time at a convenience store, who is struggling to adjust and understand life outside of the cult. After an attempted robbery at the store, he contemplates his early life in which he was a medical student compared to his current meanderings, and questions the meaning of what it is to be “alive.”

What did I think?:

I’m a big fan of Japanese fiction so I was looking forward to starting this collection. The Blue Summit is a quirky, thought-provoking story, with a philosophical former cult member as our protagonist. He is currently working part-time at a convenience store which he enjoys as it gives him time to reflect on the meaning of life. When confronted by a robber, he seems to re-assess everything anew, unsure of his place and purpose in the world. He undergoes dream-like sequences where he defends himself against the robber, or recalls past times under Mount Fuji in his cult days. Another important character in the story is a troubled young woman called Kozue – a serial self-harmer. Our protagonist feels called upon to protect and help her, and through these actions he seems to find some peace.

I was intrigued and at some points completely mystified by this story – it seemed to hop around a lot with dream sequences, and I found myself wondering which events happened and which were purely dreams or fantasies. This I think was a deliberate ploy by the author representing our characters confused and turbulent mood. The addition of Kozue was an excellent means of keeping the tale interesting, and I enjoyed the interaction and mystery between the two of them.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

NEXT SHORT STORY: Vampires In The Lemon Grove, Karen Russell from the collection Vampires in the Lemon Grove.

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Challenge: Short Stories June to July

Published June 4, 2013 by bibliobeth

shortstory

The Challenge:

A podcast that I love and listen to regularly is Books on The Nightstand and it is they who are responsible for sparking my interest in the short story. They have dubbed 2013 the “year of the short story,” and to celebrate, one of their pod-casters is reading one short story a day. I cannot promise that dedication so have decided to read one story a week, after realising this is the perfect opportunity to start reading all those short story collections on my Kindle or in “tree-book” version that seem to be accumulating.

Until?…..

I’ve finished them all, of course!

A Two Month Plan – June to July

Week beginning 3rd June

The Mist – Stephen King from Skeleton Crew

Week beginning 10th June

What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank – Nathan Englander from What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

Week beginning 17th June

Diving Belles – Lucy Wood from Diving Belles

Week beginning 24th June

The Blue Summit – Randy Taguchi from Fujisan

Week beginning 1st July

Vampires in the Lemon Grove – Karen Russell from Vampires in the Lemon Grove

Week beginning 8th July

A Scandal in Bohemia – Arthur Conan Doyle from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Week beginning 15th July

Butcher’s Perfume – Sarah Hall from The Beautiful Indifference

Week beginning 22nd July

The Infamous Bengal Ming – Rajesh Parameswaran from I Am An Executioner

Week beginning 29th July

I’m Starved For You – Margaret Atwood (stand-alone)

As always, if anyone would like to join me in a read-along, you are more than welcome. Happy Reading Everyone!