Wednesday 28 August 2013


Project Itoh, 2008 [Alexander O. Smith, 2010]
(July 2013)

Satire. And, it must be said, not particularly sharp satire, either. No scalpel here, it’s not even sledge-hammer blunt – this is a massive wrecking ball sent crashing through Japanese notions of conformity and, unsurprisingly, harmony. As it’s being aimed at a target I wholly approve of I found it all rather thrilling, in it’s own way. Nothing like an angry diatribe every once in a while to shake things up and knock them down.

The author apparently wrote this whilst receiving palliative treatment for cancer and as ways to leave this world go, it’s a pretty impressive effort.


  1. Huge fan of this book, but you knew that already as I keep pushing it on you.

    1. Yeah, I can see why. It's not especially subtle, but then the obvious anger is quite bracing, all considered. Not so sure about the ending though.

    2. I still haven't come to terms with the ending, especially as that one girl is totally going against everything she claimed to be for. I dunno, it was like getting a horse collar tackle when I read the last chapter. Other than that tho, one of my favorite books out of Japan ever.

    3. The ending seems like the author trying to be contrary for its own sake, tbh. Throughout the protagonist (forget her name) wants to come across as angry, but just seems a little emo - your typical disaffected teenager. She could be being set up as an unreliable narrator, but I really doubt it. So the ending, kinda, ties into that selfish teenager vibe where spite is a more powerful force than any other emotion, but again that doesn't feel like such a satisfying explanation. Subtlety is not this book's strong point.