(Book Review / 感想) 雪の練習生 / 多和田洋子 * Memoirs of a Polar Bear / Yoko Tawada

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I wonder why this book isn’t as acknowledged as it should be?


This book felt like a masterpiece of historical literature!!


I spotted this cute polar bear cover at Foyles, not knowing the author is actually an Akutagawa prize winner! (* The Akutagawa prize is the most famous literary award in Japan.)

この本、日本の芥川賞作家 多和田葉子さんの作品ですが、ロンドンのFoylesで翻訳版を発見し、初めて知りました。かわいいホッキョクグマの表紙が目立っていました。

Reading this book made me feel very intellectual, with it giving off a great atmosphere of pre-war and wartime Russia and Germany as well as an excellent analysis of humans from the polar bear’s point of view.


All these complex topics were introduced in just the right amount and at the right timing within the story. The quality of language was amazing, with in-depth analysis discussed in a very readable tone. The main characters – polar bears – sounded so lifelike in both their actions and speech. Just perfect as a literary novel!!!!


Although this book is written by a Japanese author, weirdly, I felt like I was reading something written abroad in a foreign language. The author Yoko Tawada has spent an extended amount of time in Germany and is even capable of writing novels in German. The fact that this book sounded very ‘international’ and ‘global’ in the level of viewpoints of this story was written must have been caused by this very international experience of the author herself.


One of the very very rare books that made me feel so sad finishing the book. I really want everyone to read this.



More reviews available on my book blog Intermission Ambience
書評ブログの Intermission Ambience にも本のレビューを書いています。あわせてぜひご覧ください!

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