Japan Now Talk: Hiromi Kawakami in London on March 01st

Following on from my last post about Momoko Ando presenting 0.5mm at a special screening, here’s a recent announcement sent out by the Japan Foundation regarding a new Japan Now talk:

The Japan Foundation is delighted partner with Foyles and Modern Culture for this
special talk by author 
Hiromi Kawakami as part of Japan Now 2017

Hiromi Kawakami Talk Information

Hiromi Kawakami has been a long standing favourite of Foyles customers and booksellers alike. Perfectly constructed, poetic and moving, Strange Weather in Tokyo was the first of Kawakami’s novels to be published in English, introducing readers to the dreamlike state of her writing.

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Japanese Author Mitsuyo Kakuta (Rebirth, Pale Moon) in London on October 26th

Ah, being in Japan means I get to miss so many cool Japan-related events in the UK such as this talk with the writer Mitsuyo Kakuta that will take place in London. She is a name that film fans may know of thanks to the adaptations of her works Pale Moon and Rebirth. She is a highly respected author who is visiting London on October 26th for a talk hosted by the Japan Foundation which sent an email out to alert anybody interested about the event. I’m in Tokyo right now but I know a few people who will be interested. Here are the posters for the film adaptations and the details of the talk:

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Republic of Thieves Read-Along Week Five

Republic of Thieves Book CoverHello once again dear audience and welcome to the final Republic of Thieves read-along post where the curtain is brought down on Sabetha and Locke’s romance, the play in Espara and the election in Karthain. This week’s questions come from Tethyan Books and they have been split them into different timelines – Espara and Karthain – much like last week. Week one was all about getting to know the characters again while week two was all about revealing Sabetha, week three was all about Espara and now we get to the real meat of the story where the Sabetha and Locke match wits in the election and the theatre production is about to go on the road, week four was all about cock-blocking and we see the results of the election this week! I think we need some epic music for the conclusion of the book so play this track while reading my answers:

Here are the questions:

In Espara…

1. The Republic of Thieves:  It’s the first and final performance!  What did you think of the play?  Were you entertained, or eager to get on with the rest of the story?  Also, how do you feel about how the play fits in the novel, in terms of the story and the characters who play the parts?

I was hooked by the events in the Espara timeline and the twists and turns they took. It helped build characters up and was entertaining to read but when I look back at it I wish there was more time spent on the election plus I did notice some interesting aspects like the priest claiming that the characters from the play were real and are unquiet ghosts!

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Republic of Thieves Read-Along Week Four

Republic of Thieves Book CoverHello once again dear audience and welcome to the penultimate Republic of Thieves read-along where revelations are revealed, Sabetha and Locke get closer to doing the horizontal tango and there were major twists and turns. The revelations are so major we have been requested to hide spoilers so when you get to question 7 just highlight the text. Anyway, this week’s questions come from Andrea from The Little Red Reviewer who has split them into different timelines – Espara and Karthain – and she used the term cockblocking – it’s so cute when a woman uses it… unless it applies to me. Fortunately it applies to Locke and Sabetha who were still orbiting each other when we last saw them! Week one was all about getting to know the characters again while week two was all about revealing Sabetha, week three was all about Espara and now we get to the real meat of the story where the Sabetha and Locke match wits in the election and the theatre production is about to go on the road. Here are the questions:

Let’s start with the Espara timeline.

1. We finally know why Sabetha dies her hair, and that’s so disturbing even the Thiefmaker under Shade’s Hill was disgusted by it. Too dark for this world? Or just right?

When I began reading the passage I was irritated by Sabetha’s overreaction – you just want to sleep with me because I have red hair! Boo men!

Boo Sabetha, more like! Yes red heads are sexy and demanding¹ but Locke isn’t as base as that!!! As she explained her feelings more it sort of made sense why she may react like that and I was chilled to the bone when she gave her reasons. It came out of the blue and I would have appreciated more foreshadowing but then maybe my reaction was meant to be similar to Locke’s?

Anyway, I think it fits in with the world at large. This is a hard land full of superstitions, horrible traditions and brutality. Hands get cut off, people get executed in the street… Children get the noose! It fits. Furthermore it solidifies my impressions of gender inequality. Women may hold positions of power in the world Locke and Sabetha inhabit, they are captains, spy masters etc. but I still get the impression of inequality between the sexes. They still have to fight harder and they still get looked at like dolls. So yeah, it fits, it made me sympathise with Sabetha and it unnerved me. I hope Locke and Jean bring down the country where this tradition that Sabetha fears persists. Better yet I hope Sabetha does it.

¹  My favourite red-head is a fictional one called Sawa Nakamura, the most demanding red head in existence! And her hair colour isn’t even natural.

http://aanniimmee.tumblr.com/
http://aanniimmee.tumblr.com/

“Get changed and do some False Facing, Locke!”

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Republic of Thieves Read-Along Week Three Answers

Republic of Thieves Book CoverIt’s the third week of the Republic of Thieves Read-Along and we’re over half way through the book. Week one was all about getting to know the characters again while week two was all about revealing Sabetha. As the story unfolds we find out more about Locke and Sabetha’s shared history and I can only hold my head in my hands as I read Locke’s romantic endeavours… Clockwork maids sound better and better 😛

Locke and Jean also find out that Sabetha might just outwit them in the election. Again clockwork maids would be easier to deal with. This week’s questions come from the fabulous Lynn over at Lynn’s Book Blog.

The election competition.  Sabetha isn’t wasting any time throwing pranks at Locke and Jean.  Mostly it seemed fairly harmless, or at least not overly serious, until they were kidnapped and put onto a ship and taken out to sea.  What did you make of Sabetha’s latest plan? And what did you think about the way she executed it?

Sabetha’s plan was pretty much in line from what I expected from her – mindbogglingly thorough and ruthlessly executed. At first I had to laugh because it was ingenious and over the top and unexpected and then I admired it. As soon as she separated Locke from Jean, alarm bells were ringing. She suckered him in with his desires and put him out to sea… I was staggered at that turn of events.

Overall it was well-thought out and executed with every detail thought of… apart from Locke’s ability to improvise his way out of things although she placed spies on the city wall so I guess she anticipated it might happen. So it was mostly air-tight. Her reasoning for the plan was to both win the election and keep Locke from hurting himself and while the first point is fine the second one makes her seem like an abusive wife!!!

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Republic of Thieves Read-Along Week Two Answers

Republic of Thieves Book CoverHa, the second week of the Republic of Thieves Read-Along and the questions come from Over the Effing Rainbow! Week one got off to a great start with lots of interesting responses and the book is still exciting to read in week two so there will be more interesting responses, I’m sure. Check them all out at Little Red Reviewer’s blog.

Blood And Breath And Water: Patience tells Locke that the ritual to save him is serious business. She wasn’t kidding… What did you make of this scene, and do you think any of it might (perhaps literally) come back to haunt Locke?

That scene was <Epic Voice>EPIC</Epic voice>. It was physically and spiritually soul-destroying for all involved from the Bondsmagi conducting the spell to Jean observing and Locke getting the poison sucked out of him. That and there’s the possibility of an afterlife and the Gods being real. That’s scary. Kudos goes to Lynch for choreographing the whole thing.

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Republic of Thieves Read-along Week One Answers

Republic of Thieves Book CoverAfter more than a year we’re back with Scott Lynch and his Gentlemen Bastards in his latest epic tale, Republic of Thieves. Cue equally epic read-along with fantastic book bloggers and me desperately trying to read the book on my commute to work. Thankfully I found it quite easy to get back into things and tore through 140+ pages with glee. It’s interesting to look back on my comments on the last post on Red Seas Under Red Skies and see that I was wrong on some points (believe me, this doesn’t happen often):

“The whole poison thing being a bluff on Stragos’s part seems most likely – how on earth are the guys going to get out of a tailor made poison when the alchemist who cooked it up is dead?”

The poison was real and Locke really is dying. Holy crap! Worse still, there weren’t any clockwork maids! DAMN!

Anyway, here’s my answers to this week’s questions as posed by DabOfDarkness.com

1) We get to reminisce with several old friends in this section – Carlo, Galdo, Chains. How did you like this? Bitter sweet or happy dance?

I think it was a sweet seeing the mischievous Carlo and Galdo and the fatherly Chains. A bit of happiness before the tragedy. It was also very necessary for our understanding of how tight knit the GB’s were with each other and what a loss for Locke and Jean it was when the Falconer and company butchered the Sanza’s and Bug. Every fragment of background information helps add context and colours the character’s behaviour so when Locke and Jean say they hate the Bondsmagi we know why.

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Book Tag

Lynn from Lynn’s Book Blog has tagged me in a game of literary tag so I have to reply (because I’m competitive like that). Take a gander at my answers.

fate_zero_02_8

1. If you had the power to ban a certain book, or certain kinds of books, however productive the outcome may be (think Twilight or Oliver’s Story), even if you knew a huge majority of readers might thank you for it, would you?

No… I’m not one for censorship. That said I wouldn’t mind getting rid of awful zombie fiction. Day by Day Apocalypse/Prey are two titles I gave up reading due to the fact I found them dull (that was their chief crime anyway).

2. What is one book you wish you had written?

After Dark by Haruki Murakami. It mixes the everyday with cool characters, history, a dose of horror and surrealism and it seems so effortless. I wish I could do something like that.

3. You have finally achieved world domination and as new king/queen of the world, you need to fashion yourself a crown. But of course, you’re too cool for precious metals and the like. What would your crown be/be made of?

Since I have to wear this I guess I would go with something soft like silk. It would be floppy and light.

4. Have you ever wondered how a doggie biscuit tastes and wanted to try?

No. No I have not.

5. Is there a book that you weren’t able to complete for whatever reason, but lied about it and told people you did? Which one?

I have done it a few times in the past – Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers… – but these days I’ll just be honest and say I haven’t finished a book.

6. Your choice of instant pick-me-up food?

Toast. The description of toast in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows won me over to toast. That said I quite like it burnt and hard. Hard enough to kill…

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Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Part 5

It is the final part of the Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along and as we prepare to bid farewell to Locke and Jean I think I know what lures sailors to their doom in the Parlour Passage – not rebel bondsmagi but sexy mermaids.

Anyway I have had another great time conversing with book bloggers and I would like to thank the #lynchmob leader Little Red Reviewer for organising the whole thing. This week’s questions come from Lynn who told me that mermaids are dangerous last week which saved my life on a recent coastal walk. Anyway these readalong have been a lot of fun thanks to the exciting books and the book bloggers who offer up a variety of weird and wonderful opinions.

1.       Oh my god, such a lot going on I thought the showdown between the Poison Orchid and the Sovereign was brilliantly written and they were holding their own until Utgar and his nasty device turned up.  Well a lot of you had kind of predicted it, and I suppose we’d been let off too easy so far in terms of deaths of well-liked characters  – but come on,  did you expect something like that?  And how on earth will Jean ever recover?

Talk about nerve wracking battle – kids in danger, ship could sink while there is a sea-monster swimming around, half the crew dead, and evil birds flapping about pecking eyes out. I did not see the situation with Utgar coming up – his alchemical  device was really evil and ingenious. I honestly thought that the situation might have evolved differently. I thought Jean might save the kids and the whole crew would surrender to Rodanov and get sent to prison. When Ezri sacrificed herself it was horrific. Like others I felt that Ezri and Drakasha were marked for death because they occupied a similar position to Nazca – strong characters who have a major influence on the GB’s. Will Jean recover? Not entirely. It will haunt him. Perhaps make him more reckless and nihilistic.

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Red Seas Under Red Skies Read Along Part 4

Week 4 of our Red Seas Under Red Skies read along saw the guys finally reach the Ghost Wind islands and encounter some strange – dare I say WEIRD? – things! I get the feeling that this will be the last tie that the Jean and Locke will play at being pirates so I had better start packing in One Piece images in.

One Piece Crew
Move Over Poison Orchids! The Straw Hat Pirates Rock!

This week’s questions come from nrlymrtl who writes at Dark Cargo. Check in with our #lynchmob leader, The Little Red Reviewer, for more blogs that are participating.

1) I was much relieved when Jean and Locke made up, which started with Locke’s gesture of a cup full of honesty with Cpt. Drakasha. Do you think that was hard for Locke? Or was he using this bit of honesty like any other weapon in his arsenal to get what he wants in the end?

Locke has grown as a character. The heat of battle made him react badly to the fact that Jean might love someone more than him but when he cooled off he saw that Jean really loves Ezri, they’re made for each other, pirates are thieves too, (yadda yadda) but, most importantly, he saw the usefulness of having the Orchids on his side and the best way to do that is to play the empathy/trust/honesty card with Zamira. It was a bit of a con that was inspired by Jean and his suggestion that they work with the pirates. Out of all the choices available it was the easiest choice for him to make that would drag him from his awful position into one that gives him a range of better choices.

2) The Parlor Passage: We still don’t know Locke’s true name, but whatever was in that mist does. What do you think it is?

I think that there’s a mage in that mist! We got a hint that there was a “Figure” in the Parlour Passage.

“Something was there, for the briefest instant – a dark shape visible through the curtains of mist. Man-sized. Tall, thin and motionless. Waiting there atop the reef.”

There is a mage that has some insanely powerful magic at his fingertips and is able to pry into the minds of those who sail past. We know that the Bondsmagi tried to ensure they have a monopoly on magic by forcing people to join them or die but what if one or more got away? If I were a mage then I would flee to the farthest reaches of civilisation’s influence (Ghostwind Islands) and set up shop in a place the Bondsmagi would deign to unimportant or too risky to search. Locke and Jean will probably recruit this guy who will be out of shape, old, grouchy and probably swears a lot. If Locke wanted to recruit a powerful old man then he should recruit the truly epic pirate Whitebeard.

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