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The setup is intriguing but the story is slight Levy Hideo is according to the back flap the first white American novelist to write in Japanese, which means his 1992 novel has just been translated for English readers Set in the late 60s, Levy s 17 year old protagonist lives with his father in the American consulate in Tokyo One days he escapes, longing to speak Japanese in Japan rather than hide in the cocoon of his extraterritorial status He makes a friend, and manages to earn a living as The setup is intriguing but the story is slight Levy Hideo is according to the back flap the first white American novelist to write in Japanese, which means his 1992 novel has just been translated for English readers Set in the late 60s, Levy s 17 year old protagonist lives with his father in the American consulate in Tokyo One days he escapes, longing to speak Japanese in Japan rather than hide in the cocoon of his extraterritorial status He makes a friend, and manages to earn a living as a waiter in an all night diner, where the staff regard him as a mildly offensive oddity That s pretty much the story The poetry is all in the details, the settings sketched from page to page, fundamentally in the appreciation and longing for the language.So, although I was underwhelmed, I ll keep my eye out fortranslations of Levy s books The fine introduction by translator Christopher D Scott whet my appetite for other classics of Japanese language literature as opposed to Japanese literature written by Japanese authors Wu Zhouliu s Orphan of Asia and Kim S k p m s The Curious Tale of Mandogi s Ghost as well as Shir Hamao s The Devil s Disciple All three courteously showed up in a box fromthis evening as I was finishing Levy They ll make a welcome break I hope from the Stendhal and Byron I ve been reading this week (((FREE EBOOK))) ↮ A Room Where the Star-Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard: A Novel in Three Parts ⇺ Set against the political and social upheavals of the s, A Room Where the Star Spangled Banner Cannot Be Heard tells the story of Ben Isaac, a blond haired, blue eyed American youth living with his father at the American consulate in Yokohama Chafing against his father s strict authority and the trappings of an America culture that has grown increasingly remote, Ben flees home to live with Ando, his Japanese friend Refusing to speak English with Ben, Ando shows the young American the way to Shinjuku, the epicenter of Japan s countercultural movement and the closest Ben has ever felt to homeFrom the vantage point of a privileged and alienated outsider gaijin , Levy s narrative, which echoes events in his own life, beautifully captures a heady, eventful moment in Japanese history It also richly renders the universal struggle to grasp the full contours of one s identity Wandering the streets of Shinjuku, Ben can barely decipher the signs around him or make sense of the sounds reaching his ears Eventually, the symbols and sensations take root, and he becomes one with Japanese language and culture Through his explorations, Ben breaks free from English and the constraints of being a gaijin Levy s coming of age novel is an eloquent elegy to a lost time Wonderful book about identity, language and finding your way in life I was a bit surprised at the ending as I felt it was a bit abrupt, but I think I ll need to read the original now, though the translation does its own to really tell the story. While it s interesting to read a novel about Otherness from the perspective of a white male in a non white country, I wish I had gottenfrom this Room is, purposely, a snapshot I wanted an entire flip book. Wasn t crazy about the first or second stories, but the third one sucked me in I couldn t decide if I like the writing style or not, but it s definitely very unique and educational Amazing vocabulary Didn t stop me from wanting to slap the main character and tell him to just get a damn backbone Characterisation was a shame too, with most characters just a 2D copy of some stereotype, possessing only a single motif each. It was very entertaining, but not particularly cohesive Perhaps this was due to the serialized nature of the book, but I would like to seecontinuity The language, be it from translator or the author, was beautiful. Picked up this book by chance in the library, having no idea what to expect It turned out to be a very pleasant read about the struggle of an expat who can t really pinpoint where home is. This book islike three short stories for a writing project than a novel Certain pieces of the stories were interesting, but never developed. Felt very undeveloped, but there was potential with the storyline I hate how it just ended right in the middle of the story too much to blame on lost in translation again.