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The cake tree in the ruins

Tekijä: Akiyuki Nosaka

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
521504,146 (4.07)6
"'I am still unable to leave the burnt-out ruins' Akiyuki Nosaka, 2014. In 1945, Akiyuki Nosaka watched the Allied firebombing of Kobe kill his adoptive parents, and then witnessed his sister starving to death. The shocking and blisteringly memorable stories of The Cake Tree in the Ruins are based on his own experiences as a child in Japan during the Second World War.They are stories of a lonely whale searching the oceans for a mate, who sacrifices himself for love; of a mother desperately trying to save her son with her tears; of a huge, magnificent tree which grows amid the ruins of a burnt-out town, its branches made from the sweetest cake imaginable. Profound, heartbreaking and aglow with a piercing beauty, they express the chaos and terror of conflict, yet also how love can illuminate even the darkest moment."--… (lisätietoja)
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3+ stars
I really wanted to like this book a lot, but it just didn't happen. An outstanding film was made by Studio Ghibli based on one of this author's stories: Grave of the Fireflies. That story is not included here, and I had never read that story. As far as I could tell this present collection of 12 stories is the only available book that has been translated into English excepting for an earlier version that had 7 stories according to info at the back of this book. However, I did find online what appears to be Grave of the Fireflies, translated, here: https://www.gwern.net/docs/anime/1978-nosaka.pdf. I skimmed this and it is very recognizable as the story in the film. Well written, too.

This collection, if you look around, gets almost entirely 4 and 5 star reviews and is heaped with praise. I'm not at a loss, but I just don't think it was that praiseworthy. Events are somewhat repetitive. A couple of these stories are rather weak - either imperfectly translated or poorly written in the first place, or both. I would say these are children's stories and deal with the end of World War II, primarily in Japan and the effect on everything but especially children and animals. Death, starvation, towns and cities razed to nothingness over and over, there is a lot of it. Each story is dated August 15, 1945, the day the story ends. That is the day that Victory over Japan was declared and Emperor Hirohito announced over the radio airwaves that Japan had surrendered. It was the first time the general public had ever heard the Emperor speak. It is an interesting and odd speech of surrender https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiGtQ8mu1qc

But I digress ... these are sad and depressing stories that will tug at you.

I read the first two stories early this year and put the book aside. I re-read them this time along with all the stories.

The 12 stories are:

The Whale That Fell in Love with a Submarine
The Parrot and the Boy
The Mother That Turned Into a Kite
The Old She-Wolf and the Little Girl
The Red Dragonfly and the Cockroach
The Prisoner of War and the Little Girl
The Cake Tree in the Ruins
The Elephant and Its Keeper
A Soldier's Family
My Home Bunker
A Balloon in August
The Soldier and the Horse

I thought "The Old She-Wolf and the Little Girl" was a really good story and possibly my favorite. This one was set in China with the Japanese fleeing at the end of the war as the Soviets attack. Very sad story with a very sad end.

In "The Elephant and Its Keeper", which was first published in 1975 the author writes: "Too many undernourished people and animals appear in these stories, I know, but it was wartime, after all."

"A Balloon in August" was about the Japanese plan to attack the American mainland with fire balloons. Interesting. ( )
  RBeffa | Aug 29, 2022 |
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu
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Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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"'I am still unable to leave the burnt-out ruins' Akiyuki Nosaka, 2014. In 1945, Akiyuki Nosaka watched the Allied firebombing of Kobe kill his adoptive parents, and then witnessed his sister starving to death. The shocking and blisteringly memorable stories of The Cake Tree in the Ruins are based on his own experiences as a child in Japan during the Second World War.They are stories of a lonely whale searching the oceans for a mate, who sacrifices himself for love; of a mother desperately trying to save her son with her tears; of a huge, magnificent tree which grows amid the ruins of a burnt-out town, its branches made from the sweetest cake imaginable. Profound, heartbreaking and aglow with a piercing beauty, they express the chaos and terror of conflict, yet also how love can illuminate even the darkest moment."--

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