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The Hunting Gun [Paperback]

Yasushi Inoue
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

September 2004 Peter Owen Modern Classic
The Hunting Gun, set in the period immediately following WWII, follows the consequences of a tragic love affair among well-to-do people in an exclusive suburb of the great commercial cities of Osaka and Kobe. Told from the viewpoints of three different women, this is a story of the psychological impact of illicit love. First viewed through the eyes of Shoko, who learns of the affair through reading her mother's diary, then through the eyes of Midori, who had long known about the affair of her husband with Saiko, and finally through the eyes of Saiko herself.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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5.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Depiction of Loneliness Dec 3 2000
Format:Paperback
In this short piece, an extramarital love between two married people is shown through the reflection of letters by the man's wife, the woman's daughter and the woman herself. With a succinctness of language rarely found elsewhere, with imagery whose starkness matches the sadness of the story's message, Inoue manages to convey an emotional intensity that can only be described as haunting. There is not a trace of sentimentality in this tale, yet it deals with passion, betrayal and death. The author wastes not a single word: This is poetic prose at its best.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Hunting Gun March 2 2007
By Tim Hughes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am amazed this little gem is not better known and widely applauded. When I first encountered it, I was struck by the author's mastery of expressing profound saddness, with the deftness of Japanese calligraphy and the balance and economy of a perfect haiku.

It is one of the very few books I have re-read (several times) and I recommend it widely to anyone interested in original writing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Haunting Depiction of Loneliness Dec 3 2000
By O. J Thienhaus - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In this short piece, an extramarital love between two married people is shown through the reflection of letters by the man's wife, the woman's daughter and the woman herself. With a succinctness of language rarely found elsewhere, with imagery whose starkness matches the sadness of the story's message, Inoue manages to convey an emotional intensity that can only be described as haunting. There is not a trace of sentimentality in this tale, yet it deals with passion, betrayal and death. The author wastes not a single word: This is poetic prose at its best.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an extraordinary little book Nov. 2 2008
By D.B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I have known this book for many years, and own it in a couple of languages other than English. It is one of the most beautiful little books I have ever read, and I was very happy to find it in English and pass it on to people who can appreciate a genuinely poetic, yet totally unsentimental, close-clipped story. I was a little disappointed with the translation (as compared to, say, the German edition) but I'm not sure it could be done much better.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique fusion of prose and poetry Nov. 6 2011
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The Hunting Gun won the Akutagawa Prize, the most famous literary award in Japan, in 1950. Literary is the operative word here, for Yasushi Inoue's novella is almost stripped bare of novelistic convention to deliver a very literary experience of existential loneliness and bittersweet sadness.

I won't say anything about what happens since the storyline is so simple and you'll want to encounter it fresh. In any case, this is not storytelling in the Western sense. The aesthetic sensibility of The Hunting Gun is purely Japanese, so much so that I suspect I'm missing some of the many layers of significance.

Inoue takes an approach that feels quite different from character development. We don't know what made this character fall in love with that character. Rather, we witness events and emotions through poetic imagery. A white riverbed. A pattern of bright thistles on a silk coat. Petals frozen in a glass globe. These images are drenched in anguish for the characters and propel the narrative.

The introduction was extremely helpful to me in understanding (somewhat) Inoue's style in The Hunting Gun - and seeing his work in the context of the Japanese literary scene.

I ordered The Hunting Gun after reading Tun-Huang, a wonderful historical novel by Inoue. Tun-Huang's heady mix of adventure, romance, mysticism and exotic characters was more to my taste than the extreme refinement of The Hunting Gun. But whether Inoue's subject is an ancient Chinese mystery or the loneliness of lovers, he's a writer of rare imagination.
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Jan. 14 2014
By William Doran - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Excellent read---Subtle writing by the author made for a quick, enjoyable book.. Do not ask again for a review as your process much too cumbersome.
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