Friday, May 5, 2017

The Great Passage by Shion Miura

For many fiction lovers, a story based on the historical and cultural heritage of Japan may not be a great idea of an exciting getaway from the hustle-and-bustle of life. I was also in two minds about the book. Should I or should I not kept floating in my mind, until I finally decided that the other Kindle First selection for the month of May were too similar to other books that I have read in past and settled for Japanese author Shion Miura’s The Great Passage, which has been beautifully rendered into English by Juliet Winters Carpenter.

I’m sure many readers will agree with me if I say there is great reward when you dive into a book without any expectation. I did the same with this book. I just wanted to browse all over and see what it was all about. Whether it was a fine read or an enjoyable one was secondary. All I wanted with the book was to explore it and learn something new about Japanese history and culture, if there was any. In the end, I got much more than what I bargained for. I was richly rewarded in ways I least expected. My knowledge of Japanese culture was not only enriched, but I also got my share of fun and humor down through the pages of the book.

The Great Passage by Shion Miura is a story that follows three generations of publishing house staff working in the Dictionary Editorial Department of Gembu Books. It revolves around the making of a dictionary - The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. It has some very funny and quirky characters in Kohei Araki and Mitsuya Majime, complex yet well-developed. Both Araki and Majime are wholly dedicated to the creation of The Great Passage. The way they see and feel things will really resonate well with many readers.

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