Saturday 23 January 2021

Book Review: Murder in the Age of Enlightenment - Essential Stories by Akutagawa Ryunosuke

Title: Murder in the Age of Enlightenment - Essential Stories
Author: Akutagawa Ryunosuke
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 6 April 2021
eBook - PDF
Genre: Modern Classics
Source: ARC via NetGalley

The stories in this fantastical, unconventional collection are subtly wrought depictions of the darkness of our desires. From an isolated bamboo grove, to a lantern festival in Tokyo, to the Emperor’s court, they offer glimpses into moments of madness, murder, and obsession. Vividly translated by Bryan Karetnyk, they unfold in elegant, sometimes laconic, always gripping prose.

Akutagawa’s stories are characterised by their stylish originality; they are stories to be read again and again.


I've wanted to read something by Akutagawa for a while, so I was pleased when I saw this collection available for request on NetGalley. I really enjoyed the style of the prose, and the stories, which ranged in theme, all had something interesting to say, so that, with the exception of 'The General', which I struggled to get into, I had fun reading them all. These are perfectly crafted short stories that offer just the right balance of plot and character development, and I would certainly be keen to read more of Akutagawa's works in the future. If you are looking to sample works by classic Japanese authors, you will do well to give Murder in the Age of Enlightenment: Essential Stories your attention. Overall it was a 5-star read for me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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