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*Download E-pub ì 姑獲鳥の夏 ⚣ In Japanese folklore, a ghost that arise from the burial of a pregnant woman is an Ubume The Summer of Ubume is the first of Japan s hugely popular Kyogokudo series, which has 9 titles and 4 spin offs thus far Akihiko Kyogokudo Chuzenji, the title s hero, is an exorcist with a twist he doesn t believe in ghosts To circumnavigate his clients inability to come to grips with a problem being their own, he creates fake supernatural explanations ghosts that he the exorcises by way of staged rituals His patients belief that he has vanquished the ghost creating their problems cures them.In this first adventure, Kyogokudo, must unravel the mystery of a woman who has been pregnant for 20 months and find her husband, who disappeared two months into the pregnancy And unravel he does, in the book s final disturbing scene. How could the world seem so different, merely due to an absence of light Maybe it was frightening during the day, too we were just too distracted by the sights to notice, too eager to pretend nothing was amiss My brother would love this book The character Kyogokudo has such an interesting view on religion and the paranormal, almost logical And boy could he talk.I think this is one mystery I ll remember years from now, it was incredibly sad and made so much sense when all was revealed It was a mystery I could only solve part of, the whole truth was beyond my ability to solve maybe if I knew about Japanese history , but thats just made this story better. Like a 3.8 on the star scale Summer of the Ubume is a mystery story with strong supernatural overtones, one that starts out a bit slow but picks up and gets progressively weird as it moves along toward its ending, which is the most bizarre solution to a mystery I ve run across in all of my years of reading And I ve been reading a long, long time.The year is 1952, the place Tokyo The war is over, the American Occupation has ended, people are trying to get back to normal life but quite yet haven t figured out just what that entails Buildings are still in ruins, the black market has recently been outlawed, and tabloid papers are all the rage The novel is narrated by Sekiguchi, a freelance tabloid reporter who used to study slime molds but gave up his unprofitable research to focus on his writing and to make some money He has come to visit his friend Kyogokudo to ask him his opinion about a story he s recently heard about a woman who has been pregnant for twenty months and has shown absolutely no signs of giving birth Her parents are members of the Kuonji family, whose descendants have been practicing medicine since Japan s feudal period The current Kuonjis run the Kuonji Clinic, once a prestigious institution, but one which has now fallen on hard times since the war, not only due to damage from air raids, but because of stories about babies disappearing from there shortly after their births The pregnant woman s husband disappeared about a year and half earlier, never to be seen again after locking himself into a room in the annex of the clinic After the indomitably rational Kyogokudo spends a great deal of time expounding on such topics as quantum mechanics, religion, collective delusions and the truth as he sees it underlying the supernatural, he suggests that Sekiguchi go to see their friend, a private investigator There, by sheer chance, Seki meets Ryoko, the sister of the pregnant woman, a pivotal event in Sekiguchi s life and in the rest of the story, as she agrees to let the private investigator and Sekiguchi visit the clinic From there the novel takes a number of bizarre twists and turns, all leading to an even bizarre ending Despite Chuzenji s pervading rationality, there is a very potent creep factor at work throughout the novel and supernatural overtones form a frame for this story The reader sees the story through the eyes of Sekiguchi, who is highly impressionable his own infallibities work together with things he sees and hears, creating an atmosphere that keeps the tension at a high level Among other things, he witnesses his private eye friend s ability to see memories and posit questions based on his visions when he goes to see the Kuonji clinic, evidence turns up of strange experiments witnesses are either reluctant or missing he has bizarre dreams, strange recurring memories and he periodically fades in and out of reality The author s passion for strange yokai folklore that is woven throughout the novel also helps set the tone so that even though the reader starts wondering if there isn t here than meets the rational eye.This is such a bizarre story that I couldn t help but really like it I can honestly say I ve never come across anything quite like it it is not only an intriguing mystery with a strange, twisted ending, but it s also odd enough to feed my weird monkey Beyond the mystery story however, the author also offers his readers a look at a changing Japan which now has an opportunity to consciously detach itself from its old, destructive traditions and philosophies and move into the modern world However, readers should be aware that much of this analysis is accomplished largely through the long discussions between Kyogokudo and Sekiguchi that begin this narrative and are also found throughout the novel , taking up several pages of dialogue on various topics While my strange brain digested all of this joyfully, unprepared readers may find it stuffy, boring or dull and wonder what it all has to do with anything Hang in there a it has a lot to do with things, and b the action picks up shortly afterwards I ll give The Summer of the Ubume an NFE rating, meaning not for everyone, although readers who embrace the strange or who already have an interest in Japanese writing will definitely appreciate it Mystery readers looking for something outside of the ordinary may like this book, but it s not the usual crime fare most readers of that genre are used to and may prove a bit challenging Now let s hope Kodansha will see fit to translate some of the other books in this series. Hand down, The Summer of the Ubume is a goddamn masterpiece, plain and simple, I d have given it 10 stars if it s allowed.I read the Chinese translation many years ago and it s still one of my most favorite Japanese s classical detective novels The novel balances itself finely among different themes such as suspense, detective mystery, horror, traditional demon ghost lore and romance The ending is really twisted as well. One of my favourite novels ever, and a very nice translation Alexander O Smith has made a wonderful effort here overall, utilising challenging language forms which are consistent with both the original Japanese form and the storyline as translated There are a couple of minor problems with the translation, mostly in terms related to everyday Japanese culture are rice flower dumplings actually mochi or dango , or something else entirely.The story itself is delightfully logical Kyogoku spends a lot of time explaining in detail the theories behind the psychologically supernatural occurrances in the novel all possible plotholes are tied up so effectively that it is easy to forget that the theories presented probably wouldn t hold up in real life.All in all, an entertaining supernatural thriller which will turn out to be not so supernatural after all.