Vertij by Randy Taguchi, is both a literary challenge, as well as a cultural one, which any serious reader needs to assume it.

Target audience?  Those who are passionate with exotic cultures, like Japan, those who experience with more drama the alienation of the world we live in, but also those who haven’t felt anything anymore for a very long time.

Where and when? Tokyo, in Internet era.

Strong points? The hikikomori phenomenon (people, especially young ones, who completely give up on social life and choose to live isolated in a room). Not only the subject is fascinating in itself, but the author uses it in a very original manner. The mix of mysticism and technology is mind-blowing. The sex scenes are not meant to shock the reader, as they perfectly integrate themselves in the fabric of the story.

Weak points? It can scare the reader who strictly prefers a warm atmosphere and round and positive characters. I recommend you to face your fears.

Favorite characters? Yuki and Taka.

Convince-me! “Nobody else could stay a long time in my heart. The other people couldn’t stimulate me. I had disconnected myself from humanity. I hated human feelings, too raw, too alive. I was afraid of them.”

Bonus? Sex. The best diet in the world.”

Stars? 9 plus.


The Blind Assassin


The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood is the novel for which the author won Booker Prize in 2000.

Target audience? Everybody who likes “wrestling” style.

Where and when? Toronto and Ontario (1914-199), Zycron Planet (undefined).

Strong points? The “wrestling” style. One must have solid talent and crazy courage to use three different narrative styles (one more fragmented than the other) within the same novel and keep the reader’s interest at a high level all along. A very rare and precious feeling for comparisons. Their genuineness can make any writer die with envy.

Weak points? Also the “wrestling” style. It can awfully tire you, unless you have serious reading years behind you.

Favorite characters? The Blind Assassin!

Convince me! The story of the blind assassin (the so called Sci-Fi or mystery part of the novel). It is the one that keeps you glued and which you search for hungrily among the lines dedicated to the two weird sisters’ lives and (sometimes) pathetic adventures.

Bonus? I don’t have one, as I would not read this book for the second time.

Stars? 8. For ingeniousness and guts.