Ex Libris Kirkland

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Translator Emily Balistrieri
First Written 2004
Genre Fiction
Origin Japan
Publisher HarperVia
My Copy library copy
First Read April 22, 2023

The Tatami Galaxy

This book is very funny and winsomely written, but I just had trouble with the cynical vibe.

Noted on April 25, 2023

[I mean, pretty hilarious for a set of opening pages]
It's said that people who become an obstacle to on their path to love will be kicked by a horse and d' someone a rule I stay away from the riding grounds on the lonely north so as edge of campus. If I were to go anywhere near there, the unbroken horses would probably fly into a rage and jump the fence to gang up on me—I'd be trampled into shreds of soiled meat you couldn't even use to make sukiyaki. For the same reason, I am also terrified of Kyoto Prefecture's mounted police.

Why am I so scared of horses? Because even among people I don't know, I am notorious as an Obstructor of Romance. I am a dark Cupid costumed as a god of death who wields not arrows of love, but a battle-ax. Red threads of destiny are strung around like infrared sensors, and I cut every last one in range, severing the invisible bonds between would-be lovers.

Young men and women have shed barrels of bitter tears over these acts of mine.

It's the height of injustice, I know.

When I began college, even I sometimes quivered slightly with the thought that I just might have a rose-colored court-ship ahead of me. And only a few months later, though it was clear there was no need to so temper my resolve, I had even decided in my head: I will not behave like a wild animal. In the company of beautiful maidens I will be a purehearted, proper gentleman. In any case, I should have had the capacity to turn a blind eye to those men and women who forsook reason to recklessly pair off.

Instead, at some point I lost that capacity and turned into the kind of heinous fiend who delights in the sound of red threads being severed. Broken-Heart Alley, where snippets of red thread float in puddles of bitter tears... I stepped into this cramped backstreet of despair under the guidance of a detestable character, a man who is both my mortal enemy and sworn comrade.

Quoted on April 25, 2023

[the narrator meets a fortune-teller]
The old woman took my hands and pored over them, nodding to herself.

"Mm. You seem to be extremely hard-working and talented." I was already impressed by her keen insights. Just as in the proverb "a clever hawk hides its talons," I had modestly kept my good sense and talents hidden so no one would find them, but I did such a good job that I hadn't been able to locate them myself for the past few years; for her to spot them within five minutes of our meeting meant she couldn't be any ordinary fortune-teller.

Quoted on April 25, 2023

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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