In the introduction he wrote for that book, Murakami says he first read stories by Akutagawa when he was in elementary school — some in textbooks. Then, in considering what makes the author stand out so much, Murakami cites in particular the excellence of his style and the sheer quality of his use of Japanese. Akutagawa was a born short-story writer who produced a great many works, some more successful than others. Akutagawa lived in an age that was similar to today, during which there was an economic downturn and natural disasters, including major earthquakes and tsunamis, happened.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Michael Brase Translator. Each section simultaneously clarifies and obfuscates what the reader knows about the murder, eventually creating a complex and contradictory vision of events that brings into question humanity's ability or willingness to perceive and transmit objective truth.
The story is often praised as being among the greatest in Japanese literature. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , 14 pages. Published first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about In a Grove , please sign up. Who killed Mrs. Lizziegh Enos She wasn't killed. Her husband was. See 2 questions about In a Grove…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews.
Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of In a Grove. Nov 21, Florencia rated it it was amazing Shelves: japanese , stories-and-novellas-for-this-life. Concatenated thoughts 1 - 2 [previous] In a Grove ; another fine inspiration for Kurosawa's film. Those might be the most accurate details of the entire story since there are many contradictions among all the people involved in this cas Concatenated thoughts 1 - 2 [previous] Those might be the most accurate details of the entire story since there are many contradictions among all the people involved in this case, making it impossible for the reader to actually know the truth, even when there might not be such a thing The witnesses' inconsistencies might have not been on purpose.
Some sort of explanation can be found in the obvious fact that our memory is not completely reliable. Therefore, inconsequential details or relevant events might get lost in a sea of information, especially to those who are not used to such things that eventually improve one's observation skills.
However, I do not believe the same can be said about the other three characters: the samurai in fact, his spirit , his wife and the criminal, for they all have good reasons to invent, embellish or distort their versions to save their lives and honor. A lie works as a mechanism of self-preservation for most people. Am I the only one who kills people?
You, you don't use your swords. You kill people with your power, with your money. Sometimes you kill them on the pretext of working for their good It's hard to say who is a greater sinner, you or me. The plot revolves around some interesting themes that include the inability to know an absolute truth since everything seems to be contaminated by our impressions; self-interest, beauty and lust, dishonor and the atrocities a person is willing to do to remedy that situation, the ephemeral essence of our existence and the heinous rationalization behind the act of taking somebody else's life.
Since the film gave me the absurd idea of merging these reviews, it is only fair to say that Kurosawa's approach differs a bit from Akutagawa's story, where ambiguity controls every aspect of it. But the movie is something you do not want to miss due to stunning performances, sublime music and the symbolism they have employed that is simply mesmerizing, ranging from particular elements to a dichotomy conveyed through an exquisite use of light.
Besides, you haven't cinematographically? Anyway, as the book reaches its peak, everything seems rather superfluous. Even words. There was an implied communication between some of the characters in which many things were said through the eyes. A poetic interpretation would not apply here, since I believe they did it to find whatever they were resolved to find. Another excuse to justify their actions.
Nonetheless, in the end, I suppose they were all guilty as they were victims. The story ends with the account of the murdered samurai as told through a medium. It is the part I loved the most since it allowed me to take a glimpse at Akutagawa's beautiful and poignant writing, something that could not exist in the previous attempt to describe cold, hard facts. A desire for truth. An absolute truth that might never be able to avoid the contact with our personal experiences, our opinions, our interests.
Our ego. View all 24 comments. Mar 22, Traveller rated it it was amazing Shelves: short-fiction , review-pending , japan. This story is contained in one or two of the anthologies of Akutagawa's short stories. I'm hovering on the brink of giving this particular short story 5 stars, just for the premise alone.
Having more than one protagonist or no specific protagonist at all , and the differing viewpoints that these protagonsists have on the same set of events. The translation also came across as a lot more el This story is contained in one or two of the anthologies of Akutagawa's short stories. The translation also came across as a lot more elegant than some of Akutagawa's other stories. I've heard that the film that was partly based on this story, Kurosawa's film "Rashomon", actually improves on the characterizations, and if so, I don't want to give the story top marks if it could conceivably have been even better.
I'll write a proper review once I've had a chance to view the film. In the meantime, may I once more express my disgruntled irritation that GR doesn't allow for half-stars, in which case I could have slipped out of my predicament by giving this 4 and a half stars. View all 7 comments. Jul 15, Steven Godin rated it really liked it Shelves: short-stories , japan. Read as part of my binge on Japanese writers especially Akutagawa , This excellent short story brings into question the accuracy of the human perception and fully illustrates our tendency to lie.
Akutagawa excels in examining the darker side of our nature, and the great thing about this story is he doesn't really provide the reader with a distinction between what are the truths and what are merely fabrications. We get certain information, and it's up to us to form the puzzle and make out the sto Read as part of my binge on Japanese writers especially Akutagawa , This excellent short story brings into question the accuracy of the human perception and fully illustrates our tendency to lie.
We get certain information, and it's up to us to form the puzzle and make out the story for it to be rational. There is a series of testimonials, seven in fact, about a murder. And the further the story moves along, your beliefs or ideas of what truly happened would be contradicted by another person's account, constantly sending the reader on a Merry-Go-Round of suspicion.
View 2 comments. Simplicity is ever so complex. I have to admit that I read this short story mainly because of Kurosawa's Rashomon, which I consider one of the best movies by the best filmmakers in the history of the moving picture which, despite its age and style as we see it with our so-called modern eyes, transcends both time and place. I first did not like this short story, and gave it two stars, mainly because, as they are by definition, short stories are short and I wanted to keep on reading and was left h Simplicity is ever so complex.
I first did not like this short story, and gave it two stars, mainly because, as they are by definition, short stories are short and I wanted to keep on reading and was left hungry for more.
Then I read and re-read it, again and again, and found myself hooked, and still found something new each time, yet still could not find where the truth lied. In 10 pages, Akutagawa has captured the millions shades of grey of the human spirit. This is truly a five star. Apr 08, tearsline added it Shelves: fiction , short-stories. Sometimes you kill them on the pretext of working for their good. It's true they don't bleed. They are in the best of health, but all the same you've killed them.
Apr 21, Ana rated it it was amazing Shelves: short-stories , fiction , 20th-century , mystery. In the end, it's still not clear what the truth is, given that all three have different things to defend and hide. I suspect that even the ghost wants to preserve as much of his honor as possible even after death. Mar 10, B.
In a Grove by Ryunosuke Akutagawa: Analysis
The first section of the story comprises four testimonies given to a magistrate, a Kyoto city official who is investigating the mysterious death. The woodcutter who found the body that morning speaks first, confirming the location of the deserted bamboo grove where he found the corpse and describing the dry chest wound in detail. Next, a traveling Buddhist priest says he saw a man, a woman, and a horse the day before just after noon. The fourth testimony is delivered by the young woman's mother, who confirms that her daughter Masago and Masago's husband Takehiro—the dead samurai—would have been traveling in the hills the day before. She breaks down crying, worried for her missing daughter's safety.
In a Grove (Yabo no Naka) by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, 1921
Ryunosuke Akutagawa 's "In a Grove" "Yabo no naka"; is one of the great underappreciated classics of world literature. Anticipating by more than a decade such American experiments with multiple-voiced narration as those of John Dos Passos and William Faulkner , Akutagawa acknowledged his debt to Robert Browning even as he pioneered a turn away from the Victorian quest for certainty to a darker, modernist analysis of human self-deception. Just as Browning took the story for The Ring and the Book from an eighteenth-century Roman murder case, so Akutagawa took his story of theft, rape, and death from the Konjaku Monogatari. In both Browning and Akutagawa different witnesses tell what they know about a crime in an attempt to discover the truth through a judicial process. As each witness speaks in the dramatic monologues invented by Browning, each reveals his own character, limitations, and desires. The paths then diverge, and Browning's characters seek the truth and attempt to assess responsibility for the murder.