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The End of the Moment We Had by Toshiki Okada Tr by Samuel Malissa

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this is the latest book of Pushkin press Japanese Novellas which Pushkin has started to translates Japanese new best sellers
this book has won Kenzaburo Oe Prize
the book contain two unrelated stories which we the first one seemed easily readable while the second was hard to grasp and understand what is happening inside it.
th first part of the book or story starts with a bunch of drunk guys who seems to be unaware of where they are going or how noisy their talk is to their surrounding and eventually the six of them find their way to a club in which one of the drunk guys hooks up with a girl and they leave together to love hotel where they spend four days making love and talking how is that possible i don’t know.
ironically through these four days in which they talked about everything they didn’t bother themselves to ask each other their names

” time which is always pushing us forwards, pushing us forwards, and even if we want it to slow down a little it never listens, so we give up hope of it ever letting up, but for now, just for now, time felt like it’d been unplugged and we had been given a reprieve. That feeling filled our bodies little by little, or maybe it came all at once, but there it was. That was what we wanted, so we tried to make it happen, and it actually did.”

the second story is about women who refuses to go to work and spends all her day in bed thinking about the best excuse to not go to work but also about her difficult relationship with her passive husband and about her last read blog and about examining her room from kitchen to window.
from her obsession about her husband imaginary blog to her inability to understand her husband passivity in life

. How come the sun is shining outside and everyone’s running around but I don’t feel the least urge to do anything? How come I don’t care? The light in the room feels heavy, like a chunk of ice that’s starting to melt and the edges are beginning to get soft and round.

my husband didn’t act hurt or angry at what I was saying, he just sat there passively taking it all in. To me, this was humiliating. Why didn’t he shout back, challenge the outrageous stuff I was saying, why didn’t he get mad at me? That’s why I’ve spent so much time searching for a blog or something of his, because if he had a reason not to shout back I bet he would have written about it. But it could be that he doesn’t write a blog, or that if he does it’s set to private and you have to sign up or register or something to read it, or it’s on a secret page on Mixi or some other social networking site that I won’t be able to find. And if he did that, then I really really wonder what he wrote.

although it was my first time i read the Pushkin Japanese novellas and somehow unsatisfying the reading was i intend to read the other books also because who can resist Pushkin press alluring books

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Seven Hanged by Leonid Andreyev

Death the fate of every living being,being gifted with life you must also accept the negative side of the bargain that one day sooner or later that gift will be taken from you and you will become inanimate thing, something indistinguishable from stone or sand, a sad but true fact of life which is hard to deny but also hard to accept also, person like me who think play dream and laugh will one day will become dead and i will stop thinking playing laughing or dreaming, i will become no more distinguishable from rock or wall.

No matter how many times you tell me i cant believe it and no matter how many time i lie to myself it still haunts me 29437517

this is a story of Capital Punishment in which seven inmates wait their execution, and how everyone react and contemplate their incoming doom.

in the first part of the novel we get to know the government official who barely escaped death as secret police told him there was an attempt on his life and that terrorist group was planning to assassinate him in one o’clock tomorrow

and he couldn’t stop thinking about the cruel fate that some people had had in store for him.

although being warned and foretold about the incoming attempt on his life and as the police prepared the plan to capture the terrorist group before they kill him he still couldn’t believe in his salvation

he still couldn’t quite believe in his salvation. He wasn’t sure that life wouldn’t slip away from him, suddenly, any minute now. The death that those people had planned for him, which existed only in thought and intention, seemed to be still there, and it was going to stay there, it wouldn’t go away until they were caught

eventually he was transferred to other house and that night he couldn’t sleep and what irritated him the most

because it’s me thinking. And it’s not death that is terrifying, only my knowing about it. And it would be totally impossible to live if a man were to know with complete certainty the date and time when he was sure to die

and being told the date of your death can be one of the horrible things any humans hear it makes attached to that date and you become oblivious to everything else

eventually the seven inmates are transferred to individual solitary cell and each person contemplates that tomorrow he will leave this world and he will be hanged.

you cease to be human,alive and individual when you are hanged.

one last quote from one of the narrator who contemplate the mechanical aspect of the law and capital punishment

it also became a mechanical process and only for that reason something to be dreaded. Fetch and grab, take away, hang, pull down on the legs. Cut rope, haul down, cart away and bury.

A man has gone from the world.

one of the best novels i ever read which deals with the subject of death and capital punishment and its rumored that this novel inspired the Serbian assassins who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.

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the Author Leonid Andreyev

 

 

Two book mini reviews

Since it’s November and many people is dedicating it to reading non fiction if you don’t read it and read more non fiction if you already read it I though I start my first post with two short reviews

Sudha Murthy according to Wikipedia is Indian engineer, teacher, philanthropist and writer in Kannada and English. Murthy began her professional career as a computer scientist and engineer. She is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and a member of public health care initiatives of the Gates Foundation.

She is also one of the most prolific authors I have ever read and this two book tells two personal stories she faced in her life.

The first one is The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk which tells our author story as she visited the State of Odisha which although is poor but have rich and beautiful natural sights.

As she went there to check up on the new school she funded for the villagers a huge rainfall started and she was forced to stay in one of the villagers hut, the hut family although they were poor tried to give her food and tea but the author thinking she might burden the family but after initial refusal for tea the family offered her milk  which started  a family argument and how in some families things we consider very normal and cheap can be highly expensive and hard to get like Milk

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the other one tells our author story as she was boarding the train and how she saved one runaway girl who was hiding beneath her chair from the ticket collector and how this kind gesture saved this girl life and changed it for the better

, she said, ‘Akka, if you hadn’t helped me, I don’t know where I would have been today—maybe a beggar, a prostitute, a runaway child, a servant in someone’s house … or I may even have committed suicide. You changed my life. I am ever grateful to you.

 

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kindness can really change someone lives for the better

 

 

how honor ruined many women lives

my your daughter be in house or in grave

old Somali proverb

Honor is not murder. And dishonor is not a girl who goes to school. It is not a girl who plays outside. It is not a girl who refuses to marry at a young age. It is not a girl who speaks, laughs, and takes the opportunities that come in front of her. Instead, honor is identity. Honor is dignity. Honor is serving those we love with integrity and hard work; it is respecting one another, welcoming the stranger, and speaking and being proud of your own language. It is providing for your family, striving for the best in life,

before i review this book i was reminded about two honor killing incidents that occurred in my nation, luckily in the first the girl was saved before it was killed but in the second one the crime has already happens

in 2017 Hoodo Mukhtaar is a women who fell in love with a man from another tribe a tribe her parents thought unworthy of her and so she escaped with her husband and returned to her parents to get their blessing but they abducted her and tortured her and if the police didn’t interfere she would definitely would be killed

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in 2018 women fell in love with a man from another tribe a tribe so hated and prejudiced that most Somali consider them foreigners although they in these lands for many year, the girl family responded violently to her daughter love by trying to abduct and kill her and when she didn’t the couple she captured the groom uncle and after torturing him she and other tribesmen killed him and burned him.

in these two cases am sure you have noticed that what links these two cases is one word  Honor this word has ruined the lives of many girls in my part of the world and forbid them from falling in love, to learn,to educate themselves and even to go outside their houses, how these honor killing came to be is unknown and still many countries see it as normal  many NGO around the world  are fighting this heinous crime.

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our author is a Pakistani activist for women’s rights and a social entrepreneur. She is from a small village in Balochistan.

my Review;-

everyday i wake up and reading news i always encountered that word Honor Killing in many Arabic newspapers although i didn’t fully absorb what that word means reading this book especially written by women showed how privileged as men i am in my patriarchal society and that i have many freedom that i didn’t appreciate that wasn’t available to females and one of these freedom includes falling in love with the one i want although these is rare its natural for men in my city to gift their daughter to men or to promise it to them before even they were born and it seems and it seems this cruel customs are not only found in my nation but its a big problem shared by many nations in the third world and this problem affects women more than men.

our author was born in Balochistan which is very tribal region  and while in childhood she discovered her privilege as her parents allowed her to play outside the house unlike many girls of her age who their parents forbid them from leaving outside without male partner because women reputation affects the honor of her brothers father and uncles.

luckily for the author she had father who went to schools against the wishes of his parent and refused to give his daughter to marriage because of some tribal promise and he even educated his daughters against the wishes of his family, and unlike rich nations there is a little or no childhood when you live in poor countries and just as girls reach five she is expected to help her mom with house work and the boy to work with his father to earn income.

in her early teenage our author the gruesome murder of her cousin as she strangled by her cousins for dishonoring them and running away with another men and this murder led her to lifelong goal of fighting this barbaric custom which kills women and its estimated to kill one thousand women in Pakistan every year

interestingly education and independent income earning saved our author and will always save many women  from cultural custom meant to control her

I Should Have Honor by Khalida Brohi

Sep 04, 2018 | 224 Pages

link to the book

The harrowing daily experience of being trans women

Early this year the first Somali trans women came out to the public in facebook which caused uproar in the Somali social media and although the the reason she came out to the public was not for people to accept her but to shun also the many Imams who raped and molested her when she was young.


Since then the life gender non conformative people really interested me and how rhey cope and survive in places which denies them the right to exist, but also since many people in my region still believe Homosexuality as sin and mental illness reading more books about queer people can save you and cure you from the continued hate that you are told or teached about queer people

I find it fascinating to learn how  chnage in your gender and pronouns can really change your point view of life and also you interact with your surrounding environment and for this I picked up Vivek Shraya new book whch describes her life as trans women and how she coped with her earlier childhoods trauma as she was spit on and stared rudely and threaten by her first crush to use physical violence against her

Its amazing how many things are imposed on us from childhood from our gender to our faith and everytime we try as individuals To redefine ourselves  we face many backlashes from surrounding community and sometimes people who you thought will be your allies and friends in your process of  of discovering yourselves became your worst enemies and reading this book helped me get a glimpse of the daily fears and anxiety teans women face from morning to night

Vivek Shraya starts her essays from her childhood and how she harassed for not being manly enough, and how this childhood trauma still haunts her and also affect her choices from not wearing tight dresses to not attract attention to not look at the men’s eyes so she would not be harassed, what i found fascinating in this short work is how sheds ligh also on difficulty and fears and dangers most women faces whether being trans or not from violent men.


I’m Afraid of Men By VIVEK SHRAYA

You’re Just Too Good To Be True by Sofija Stefanovic

  • Every time we log into internet we expose ourselves to many things from ads that wants us to buy things we don’t need to and to scams,identity theft and many other hazardous things.
  • Somehow i as younger generation I believe i am internet native and i know the many dark corners of the internet  and how to be careful of them but for older generation who are not i feel that Internet is a dangerous place for old people.
  • Every time we log into Internet which is always for people at my age we reveal a lot about ourselves from what we love to what we fear and hate and although it’s good to be authentic here but it’s also too stupid to reveal too much about yourselves in the internet as not all people who contacted you in the Internet have good intentions.
  • The last thing i feel Internet has ruined and destroyed is human decency and respect, i feel that by using the Internet some people’s have used their anonymity to harass and troll people especially females , and by talking to people behind screen somehow in the process we don’t consider the receiving end human enough to respect them.

 

Sofija Stefanovic  is Serbian born, Australian grown writer and this book tells the story how she tried to save her 80 old friend Bill from online scammers, Bill is 80 old Australian man who tried to find love in in the Internet but somehow he was duped of all his money,savings,pensions  to Ghanaian scammers

. He was sending his pension away as soon as he got it, in the wild hope that he would, one day, get his money back. He was scammed out of more than $80  000. It left him an emotional wreck, and drowning in debt.

Bill was family guy who supported his family and never cheated his wife but since his children grown up and his wife departed this world he tried to find love in the digital world and when he logged into SilverDaddies which is a site used by mature gay men to find younger gay men his world has changed to the worst.

Nigerian prince fraud or advance fee fraud is kind of scam in which involve someone overseas offering you a share in a large sum of money or a payment on the condition you help them to transfer money out of their country.

there is two kind of scam victims the first is a victim to financial scams and this usually happens to assertive very enterprising people and the other is a person who lacks someone to care from him , someone to cuddle him some who have void in his heart and tries to fill the void in the internet but unfortunately for him he doesn’t fill the void but it leads to enlarge his void and depression.

‘Part of the way we explain crime and why people engage, is because the opportunity is there. They find the area of criminal activity that has the most opportunity and least likely apprehension. If you’re in Nigeria or Ghana, advance fee fraud is probably a type of crime that requires little resource investment and the opportunity is there. And it’s been demonstrated by others that it’s a successful way of getting money. There’s little deterrence because hardly anyone’s been caught for it.’

we need to return to old Christian virtue, the virtue of being prudent and not trusting or believing anything you read or watch in the internet, especially people you meet in the internet

Weights and Measures by Joseph Roth

Most people depart this world without having acquired so much as a grain of truth about themselves. Possibly they acquire it in the next world. Some, however, are granted self-knowledge while they are still in this world. It usually comes to them quite suddenly and alarms them mightily. Inspector Eibenschütz belonged to this category of men.

originally published in 1937  by the name Das falsche Gewicht and translated by David Le Vay from German, this short novel tells the story Anselm Eibenschütz downfall and tragedy.

in the beginning of the novel Eibenschütz was a reserved non commissioned soldier who enjoyed the life of barracks but because of his wife he was forced to leave the military life he enjoyed and to start to live like a normal civilian life

he would never have abandoned the military if his wife, in her rigorous, even inflexible, manner, had not compelled him to do so

after his departure from military he was appointed as Inspector of Weights and Measures to the district of Zlotogrod which was very corrupt town, and just as he arrived the townspeople and the officials didn’t like him just because

All the members of the group met Inspector Eibenschütz with mistrust, not only because he was a stranger and a newcomer but because they supposed him to be a thoroughly honest man who had not yet become a lost soul.
For they themselves were lost souls. They suffered themselves to be bribed and they bribed others. They defrauded God and the world and their superiors. But even the superiors in turn defrauded their higher superiors

if  his work environment was not positive his marital life also didn’t farewell as he felt very lonely around his wife and sensed her indifference to him but also very nostalgic to the very predicted military life he used to enjoy.

after several weeks our Eibenschütz discovers his wife infidelity and this leads him to hate his wife more and stay outside house more often then he used and even after his return to his house he become more lonely that even the cats didn’t allow him to pat them, just then he falls in love with gypsy women who  his passion to him would lead him to downfall.

although Eibenschütz is very kind person but he also very rigid when it comes to his work and doesn’t forgive any misdeeds done by the poor townspeople which only makes him to hate himself more and for the townspeople to hate him more, and how his love for the gypsy women changed his point view of world and nature around him.

it is amazing how love and mood can affect how we see our surrounding and how we humans have the ability to give meanings to something which have no meaning outside our brain

But the breeze from above was already mild and reminiscent of Easter, and when one looked up at the sky one could see that the stars standing there no longer looked quite so cold and pitiless. It felt as if they had moved a little closer to the earth. At the same time, a very benevolent, very gentle wind made itself felt

 

this is one of the least known works of Joseph Roth and unless you have little biography and background of the author and Austria Hungry empire you would loss the meaning of this novel and its autobiographical nature

 112 pages
Published October 5th 2017 by Penguin Classics

 

 

 

 

HAS THE WEST LOST IT? A Provocation by Kishore Mahbubani

 

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for the last 1800 years China and India both were the largest Economies and until 1820 did Europe unseat them and it seems nowadays that that seat is returning to them

the recent period of Western relative over-performance against other civilizations is a major historical aberration. All such aberrations come to a natural end, and that is happening now.

the main thesis of this book is the era of Western Domination is coming to end and the rising of populist and extreme right wing in the West can be the first signs of it, unlike the coastal elites many rural Americans and Europeans are feeling the coming change especially as they saw the recent stagnation of their income and the increase of their job losses usually to Chinese and Indian workers and this what fueled Trump rise and Brexit.

what is trues that middle income American incomes has stagnated and most of the job lost are irrevocably lost but does that also mean that American living standard will deteriorate for me i don’t believe so and one example for that is Japan,

the era of Western dominance and imposing their ideals and customs on others is coming to end and that the last two examples of western intervention on Muslim countries didn’t fare very good in Iraq and Afghanistan

 

the important gift of the West

no one can deny that West world had given Humanity many gifts and improvement and one of the best things the Rest learned from the West is Reasoning which according to The Oxford English Dictionary is

‘To think (something) through, work out in a logical manner’

many non Western nations especially learned from the Western nations by adopting their Technology and Science and due to this adoption many nations has passed through silent revolutions which were political,psychological and the third was in the field of governance and through this Silent revolution that many Asian nations passed through and was able to catch up to the West.

Western catastrophic wars

if there is one thing am sure is that because ww1 and ww2 happened that many non Western nations gained their freedom from Western imperialism and there were no nation in these planet that didn’t face the wrath superior Western nation due to their superior technology and weaponry and this  what made Western nation so superior relative to others not because they were Liberal or humanitarian.

inability Western elites to see the new changes around the world

one of the hardest thing many people and nations can do is to self reflect and Hubris and Haughtiness an blind many people from seeing reality and that is easy to be entrapped in self deception and to be unable to see the ugly and painful truth and one of the ugly truths that many Westerns are unable to accept is that their ideals and customs and political views are not universal as they used to believe and i still cant believe how Western students,politicians and business men still believe the idea that Democracy is universal and that many societies will eventually embrace Democracy

How Hubris lead Western politicians to confrontation with Islamic world and Russia

i believe there is correlation between the increase terror attacks perpetuated by militant Muslims and the increase of Western intervention in Muslims world, i really found it hard to understand why America and Europe is the only nations that are still bombing Muslim nations and the only solution these nations see as response to any Muslim problems always contains security approaches usually bombing them from Mali to my nation Somalia to Iraq Afghanistan to Philippines all the time i see Western nations sending drones and bombing them but what is more strange is that why not man Western nations doesn’t prepare or expect a backlash against their intervention, when 9/11 happened most American magazines aw them as innocent victims which is true but also they also forgot what their government does to these Muslim Militants in nineteenth as they tortured them usually in secret jails, here is a quote written by the greatest writer in Latin America

, Gabriel García Márquez, asked Americans:
How does it feel now that horror is erupting in your own yard and not in your neighbor’s living room? … Do you know that between 1824 and 1994 your country carried out 73 invasions in countries of Latin America? … For almost a century, your country has been at war with the entire world … How does it feel, Yank, knowing that on September 11th the long war finally reached your home

the West must recognize these Militants are not fighting because they hate Western values as their politicians tell them but because they are angry of Western intervention and aiding dictators around the Muslim world, and that by less Messianic Western intervention i believe that the peace between these two world could return

and about the Russia which is a former shell of the soviet union and which were weak in the nineteenth the Western forgot Churchil quote ‘In victory, magnanimity.

they broke their promises to Gorbachev and expanded NATO instead of their implicit assurance given to Gorbachev that they will not expand into former Soviet union satellites but they expanded until they reached to Ukraine and even with Russian warning American still supported Ukraine demonstrations against President Viktor Yanukovyc and Putin ultimately know the next nation will be pro West and this eventfully forced him to intervene and take Crimea, the last thing any Russian officials want is American or European base in Crimea.

at last what the author advised to any Western politicians who like to hear

A. Minimalist:  The West need to recognize that its once dominant position has passed and along with it, the belief that it is and always has been a benign force in the world. Interventions in Iraq, Libya and Syria show the contradictions in this belief. The West is widely seen by the Rest today as destructive and ineffective.

B. Multilateral: The West needs to listen more to the ‘Rest’ in the United Nations and elsewhere. He approvingly quotes Mrs. Thatcher: “The United Nations is only a mirror held up to our own uneven, untidy and divided world. If we don’t like what we see, there is no point in cursing the mirror; we had better start by reforming ourselves.” This leads him to call for the re-legitimisation of the UN.

C. Machiavellian:  Take more account of new and changing Western interests in the 21st century, where the US, UK, and Europe increasingly have diverging interests. Europe’s interests are not the same as America’s, not merely now in the age of Trump but in future areas of long-run strategic interest – in the Middle East, towards Russia, in coping with Islam and not joining with NATO.

The West can accelerate a two-way street of learning between Western and Eastern Muslims by quietly terminating its two-century-long policy of interfering in Islamic societies. A good start, as indicated earlier, will be to stop all bombing of Islamic countries.

 

  • Allen Lane
  • Published 5th April 2018
  • 112 Pages

Has the West Lost It?

 

 

La Bastarda: A Novel by Trifonia Melibea Obono

. “If you don’t have a name, you’re invisible, and if you’re invisible, you can’t claim any rights. Besides, the offensive label man-woman implies disdain toward women. It reduces them to passive sexual objects that never act on their own desires. Think about it. From what I can see you’re no fool.”

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although this short novel consists of 120 pages it contains Adultery,incest,polygamy.sexual orgy and many other sexual conducts

we fallow the story of the young orphaned teenage girl Okomo who in the beginning of the novel infuriates her grandfather just by asking him where and who is her father and just after this simple question this novel progresses as the the young girl becomes obsessed in discovering who is her father.

what happens after that question is that her grandfather calls the family four council but since he is very old the meeting topic changes from how to change our protagonist behavior to venerating her grandfathers which consisted of

he described the honorable life of Beká, the patriarch of our lineage. His existence had been so fruitful that he brought thirty men and forty women into the world, in addition to fighting against the mitangan occupation.

although the author of the novel comes from West Africa and i am from East Africa just like the novel i remembered when i was young and listened to my grandfather stories when he was young  most of the time they all consisted of him killing  people to protect his herd of Camels or dwindling pool of water,i guess some norms in Africa can be found in any corner of it.

she meets then her uncle who her tribe calls him MAN Women because he was queer and didn’t wanted to marry or impregnate women as his tribe wanted to do it, and this made the tribe hate and scorn him and eventually tries to kill him.

since this is a short novel which consist of 120 pages i don’t want to ruin your reading of it and so didn’t reveal what happens to our protagonist but the story has happy ending

although this was short novel it really was an eye opener on what it means to be queer and African at the same time and how in some societies which are very ignorant being homosexual can make your life horrible and how still many African societies and head of states usually autocratic see LGBTQ as threat and something that was parachuted from Europe to Africa not something organic.

the last note i wanna add to this small review is how many societies including my own uses Corrective Rape as something which they believe will heal women from being Lesbian which is another painful practices many societies use against women suspected of being lesbian.

But what really made me glad was how the protagonist and other characters eventually left their village to forest where they were free from small minded village people and how they respected  their new home they become vegetarian and don’t kill forest animals

The forest was the only refuge for those who had no place in Fang tradition, like me. I’m a bastarda, a Fang woman; I’m a bastarda, daughter of an unmarried Fang woman; I’m a bastarda, a lesbian.

La Bastarda: A Novel

by Trifonia Melibea Obono translated Lawrence Schimel

Published April 17th 2018 by Feminist Press

120 pages and is $14.65

Amazon link