The Life of a Stupid Man by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa

With 3 titles in this Penguin Little Black Classic, two of which are autobiographical, the author captures fleeting glimpses of the human experience.

I haven’t read many stories by Japanese authors so I thought perhaps this could be a taste-tester of sorts. I’m not sure I’m the right audience for it because although these short stories have some essence in them, I felt lost after having read the book, especially the last story.

Image Courtesy – Goodreads

In a Bamboo Grove, being the first story, engaged me well. It explores the mystery behind a man’s death through the testimonies of various witnesses. I found that to be an interesting approach considering how this technique is often used in novels to piece the puzzle. But here, it doesn’t particularly lead to anything except for varying anecdotes of the same event.

The next two titles, Death Register and The Life of a Stupid Man are both split into several parts. While I like the way it’s narrated with clarity in terms of the narrator’s thoughts, beliefs, and experiences, I just wish the writing wasn’t as disjointed.

On the whole, I wouldn’t recommend this to you unless you don’t mind reading abstract, lingering passages.

Published by Meera Nair

A 27 year-old freelance Content Writer, who spends all her free time ensconced in the pages of a book or writing to her heart's content about topics that excite the creative spirit in her.

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