I took some courses in university in Japanese History and read a fair number of novels then, but, since, I have read Japanese authors spottily. One particular favourite, however, is Banana Yoshimoto and I still have one of her works to look forward to: Hardboiled and Hard Luck Trans. from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich (1999, trans. 2005). I fell in love with Kitchen and, since, have read some of her novels, so it’s with mixed feelings that I strike the last of her translated works from my list.

Ironically it was her work which led me indirectly to one of my other choices for this reading challenge; I couldn’t get the library search function to locate the Yoshimoto novel I was looking for, so I searched for the translator instead (Michael Emmerich), which not only brought up Hardboiled, but brought along a more recent work he has translated, The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P by Rieko Matsuura (1994, trans. 2009). It’s not often that the library system summary of a book is enough to arouse my curiosity, but this one did. (If you have a look yourself, I’m sure you’ll be curious too!)

And, finally, I’ve been planning to read one of Miyuki Miyabe’s novels, Crossfire (1998). I can’t recall how exactly I narrowed it to this one; when I consider the descriptions of her books, they all sound equally interesting.

Three Japanese women, three Japanese writers: one Japanese Literature Challenge.

I quite enjoyed Cara Black’s first novel, Murder in the Marais (1998), in which readers first meet Aimée Léduc, a female private investigator working in Paris. That first in the series was nominated for an Anthony Award for Best First Novel (1998) and I most enjoyed the links between past and present (she was investigating warcrimes with connections to the 1940s that are still relevant to contemporary atrocities). But, honestly, I don’t remember much else, which is partly why I want to revisit the series, to determine if I want to follow along with it (apparently there are ten books now).

So I’m planning to read Murder in Belleville (2000); there is a very short excerpt from it here and I am really looking forward to Paris In July.

Have you read any of these? Have you added to your Challenge lists recently? (Either officially or unofficially?)