I love short story collections at the moment I can’t get enough of them, from Zoo by Otsuichi to The Color Master By Aimee Bender (as reviewed by Wandering words) I find short story collections hold so much potential to surprise you and open your reading journey up to weird and wonderful things which you might not get from a full novel. So when I came Across Emily, Another Japanese short story collection, on NetGalley, I just had to request to read it. Emily is only the name of one of the stories in this collection, the others are “Corset” and “Readymade” so, lets read the description and
description: A lonely high school girl finds nowhere she feels at ease, so every day she visits a famous shopping mall in downtown Tokyo, wearing the only clothes she can relate to, Emily Temple cute, a Lolita designer’s brand. After school she hangs out in front of the Emily Temple cute shop, identifying herself with that brand. Then she meets another lonely soul, clad in another designer’s brand. But this turns out not just to be an ordinary boy-meets-girl relationship. Both kids have their own miseries. They might look like quintessential Japanese Otaku nerds, but they’re only too human. Their awkward friendship builds as they each suffer from bullying and harassment, as well as worry about their futures.
The First story in the book is called Readymade, it is about the relationship between to office workers, it is written as an internal monologue of the female character, who is in love with the male character, although he seems to have a hard and cold demeanor. it is short but shows love from one side, the male’s motives, well, I will leave you to make that decision for your self. is he just as cruel and cold hearted as his outer shell shows, is there more beneath the surface. is the girl just obsessed, unable to look past any flaw. Is this love or infatuation. these are all questions that this story has left lingering in my mind.
The second story is called Corset, now this is a very difficult story to read, It is talking about suicide in different ways, first of all a suicide pact that only one person went through with, the guilt that the other person has to live with, Longing for someone who is at peace with themselves, only to find that they too are trapped with loneliness. Although I was not as Keen on this story there was a quote that stood out to me which kind of illustrates the whole theme of this story “The act of living means being restricted” Depression and suicide is a difficult subject to write about in the first place but the author does well writing about such difficult subjects the way they are approached is diffrent to other stories I have seen about the subject. and I wonder if this is due to a difference in social and cultural norms between western societies ideologies about suicide and death and Japanese Ideologies about Suicide and death.
The Third story, holds the name of the book “Emily” Is about social outcast-ness this was the hardest of all three of the stories to read, (Trigger warning: Sexual abuse) mostly because of the topics that it deals with, the main character has a flash back of her being sexually abused while working for a children’s TV show, the other Character is Gay and is bullied for being gay and is also manipulated in a sexual way this story left me feeling sick and anxious for a while afterwards, this is not what I had expected from the story at all.
Although the last story was incredibly difficult to read it did fit in well with the theme of this collection of short stories. all the stories are well written and the writer has a way of opening the reader up to read about these hard hitting topics. Although the stories were difficult reading I would still recommend this book to those of you who are willing to explore these topics, if these topics are upsetting or triggering to you I would not recommend that you read these stories as they do hit home hard.
over all I feel that this story deserves a 4 out of 5 stars as the stories are well written and it was definitely an interesting collection of stories