The Accusation is a deeply moving and eye-opening work of fiction that paints a powerful portrait of life under the North Korean regime. Set during the period of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il's leadership, the seven stories that make up The Accusation give voice to people living under this most bizarre and horrifying of dictatorships. The characters of these compelling stories come from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Portraying himself as a failure, the protagonist of Osamu Dazai's No Longer Human narrates a seemingly normal life, even while he feels himself incapable of understanding human beings. Oba Yozo's attempts to reconcile himself to the world around him begin in early childhood, continue through high school, where he becomes a "clown" to mask his alienation, and eventually lead to a failed suicide attempt as an adult. Without sentimentality, he records the casual cruelties of life and its fleeting moments of human connection and tenderness.
"If Camus was Japanese"
The daughter of a Chinese mother and a Japanese father, Gail Tsukiyama uses the Japanese invasion of China during the late 1930s as a somber backdrop for her unusual story about a 20-year-old Chinese painter named Stephen who is sent to his family's summer home in a Japanese coastal village to recover from a bout with tuberculosis. Here he is cared for by Matsu, a reticent housekeeper and a master gardener. Over the course of a remarkable year, Stephen learns Matsu's secret and gains not only physical strength, but also profound spiritual insight.
Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age 12 to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly recreates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his "brothers".
"Riveting, sad, and inspirational"
For those looking for the real story behind the fictionalized movie account of the 47 Ronin story, this is the definitive, fascinating account of this unforgettable tale of a band of samurai who defied the Emperor to avenge the disgrace and death of their master, and faced certain death as a result. It led to one of the bloodiest episodes in Japanese history, and in the process, created a new set of heroes in Japan.
"Neither fish nor...."
Li Du was an imperial librarian. Now he is an exile. Arriving in Dayan, the last Chinese town before the Tibetan border, he is surprised to find it teeming with travelers, soldiers, and merchants. All have come for a spectacle unprecedented in this remote province: an eclipse of the sun commanded by the emperor himself. When a Jesuit astronomer is found murdered in the home of the local magistrate, blame is hastily placed on Tibetan bandits. But Li Du suspects this was no random killing.
"Intriguing Mystery, Richly Woven"
Mao Zedong's labor reform camps were notoriously brutal; modeled after the Soviet gulag, their inmates were subject to backbreaking labor, malnutrition, and vindictive wardens. They were thought to be impossible to escape - but one man did. Xu Hongci, a young medical student, was a loyal member of the Communist Party until he fell victim to Mao Zedong's Anti-Rightist Campaign in 1957. After posting a criticism of the party, he spent the next 14 years in the labor camps.
A couple in their 30s live in a small rented cottage in a quiet part of Tokyo; they work at home, freelance copy-editing; they no longer have very much to say to one another. But one day a cat invites itself into their small kitchen. It leaves, but the next day comes again, and then again and again. Soon they are buying treats for the cat and enjoying talks about the animal and all its little ways. Life suddenly seems to have more promise for the husband and wife - the days have more light and color.
It was like a scene out of a thriller: one morning in April 2012, China's most famous political activist - a blind, self-taught lawyer - climbed over the wall of his heavily guarded home and escaped. Days later, he turned up at the American embassy in Beijing, and only a furious round of high-level negotiations made it possible for him to leave China and begin a new life in the United States. Chen Guangcheng is a unique figure on the world stage, but his story is even more remarkable than anyone knew.
"True story about the dark side of China"
In The Best American Erotica, Volume 11, we learn about the very first penis in science-fiction hotshot Geoffrey Landis's bawdy fairy tale; Touré's breathless prose poem sets us up with an evening's worth of erotic visitors; and in Jerry Stahl's story, a man recalls his boyhood fascination with his mother's friends and their elaborate undergarments.
"Sliver of quiver"
It's 1943. As air-raid sirens blare in Japanese-occupied Taiwan, eight-year-old Saburo is in no hurry to go home to the abuse he suffers at the hands of his parents and older brother. In the peach forests of Taoyuan, he encounters Yoshiko, whose loving family is like a glimpse of paradise for him. Their brief meeting is a memory he cherishes from that moment forward, and for years after he tries to locate her again. But when he finally does, she is by the side of his eldest brother and greatest rival.
Nothing had worked. Not threats or negotiations, not shutting down the betting parlors or opium dens, not throwing Chinese offenders into prison. Not even executing them. The New York DA was running out of ideas, and more people were dying every day as the weapons of choice evolved from hatchets to automatic weapons and even bombs. Welcome to New York City's Chinatown in 1925.
"Very interesting read"