I picked this up last year on a lark, having recognized the other from Breasts and Eggs which I generally enjoyed.

This — well, I certainly didn't enjoy it, nor did I find it particularly good. A story of two middle schoolers bullied to the point of ruin (seriously: the thing borders on torture porn, a rawness that bludgeons you with its wanton cruelty) and their attempt to find some kind of solace: either through transcendence or through nihilism.

I am still digesting what Kawakami wanted to communicate with this book. Certainly the ending passage is meant to portray that the protagonist at least felt as though his choice to rectify his physical faults was the correct one, a begrudging acceptance of Momose's nihilism. But it is hard to digest: when I think about this book, I will not be thinking about the way we should combat the ills of world because I will be too busy thinking about the number of pages the author devotes to a gaggle of middle-schoolers kicking the protagonist like a soccer ball.


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