You know how Alice looks super cute in her blue dress and pinafore, but Wonderland is creepy and scary, and ultimately makes her miss home? That’s the crux of the titular short story for Novala Takamoto’s Emily,
which I received from Netgalley
This collection of 3 novellas is translated from Japanese. I am not sorry to have read them, but am not certain that I would recommend. Takamoto often writes unpredictably. It was intriguing reading her work, as I had no idea where she was going to go next. But I not only felt I was reading about another culture, I often felt like I was reading another world.
Takamoto writes disturbing stories, but they don’t haunt me, and sometimes, I felt that she was writing simply to shock. This sense of dishonesty, that Takamoto was not writing in her own voice, could be due to the fact that this work is a translation. Or it could be that Takamoto has not quite found her voice yet, I’m not sure.
I rather liked the first story, entitled “Readymade.” It was the shortest, and a great introduction for an anthology/collection. The other two, “Corset” and “Emily,” were both longer and a bit more sporadic. At times, the stories were great; at others, a bit plodding and uninteresting.
Yet, what stuck out to me most from this collection was the name-dropping. It’s like being back in middle school, except that I am unfamiliar with all of the designers. Not only am I in-coolly not wearing them, but I haven’t even heard of them.
I would say give it a try if you are very interested in Japanese culture, and I feel that it might appeal to the voracious anime reader. Yet if you can actually read Japanese (unlike me), I strongly recommend getting your hands on the original literature, to avoid translation issues.
Have you read this collection? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!