ARC REVIEW: The Keeper of Night

Thank you to HCC Frenzy for sending my a physical ARC of this amazing book!

Kylie Lee Baker’s The Keeper of Night is a story of finding where you belong and learning that no one can tell you what you are except for yourself. Ren is a mixed raced Reaper-Shinigami living in London where she is belittled and bullied for her heritage by everyone, including her father and step-mother. Her only friend is her overly gentle half-brother, Neven, and after Ren loses control of her untrained Shinigami abilities while fighting against her bullies, the two hurry away to Japan so Ren can find a place where she could truly belong. Of course, the culture shock is more than either of them expected and it takes lowly fishing god to show them the ropes as Ren begins her journey to being a true Shinigami.

Dripping with the lush vibrancy of Japanese mythology, I loved the winding route this novel went in. It kept a steady pace and the transition from Ren being in London to Ren being in Japan was smooth and even managed to avoid the “travelling slump” that I find can slow things down considerably in books like this. I liked Ren instantly really empathised with the identity struggles she went through. While I will never understand her specific struggles with racial identity, being a trans person I’ve definitely dealt with the issue of only being seen as part of who I am. Her anger and frustration is such a valid expression of emotion and Neven being her brother but not understanding her struggles created an excellent commentary displaying how there isn’t another side when people of colour voice a point about the racism they have dealt with.

I adore so much about Japanese myths and legends and folklore, so I absolutely adored how Baker showed us the even darker sides of some of the already dark stories. It was such an original novel and when it came to last 50 or so pages, I was losing my mind over the intensity of everything that was happening. I thought I knew where things were going, but oh boy I had no idea at all. Available as of tomorrow, I highly recommend picking up this amazing novel. And then join me in my wait for the second book that will conclude this duology.

ARC REVIEW: Iron Widow

Thank you to Penguin Teen Canada for sending me a copy of the ARC. Iron Widow is on sale as of September 21st!

One of my most hyped releases of the year is Iron Widow by the absolutely flawless Xiran Jay Zhou. After bothering Penguin for several weeks (I love you, Penguin~) I was able to get my hands on a beautiful physical copy of the ARC. Now, believe me when I tell you that you are not ready for Iron Widow.

In a world overrun by large parasitic creatures called Hunduns, Zetian has lost her big sister to the military and her death has only brought pain to her and her family, resulting in increasingly horrible treatment towards her. Making the decision to enact her revenge on the pilot who murdered her sister, Zetian signs herself off to the same fate as a concubine used as fodder to pilot the Chyralises against the Hunduns. What Zetian doesn’t know is that her abilities far outweigh that of what the Sages of the army have told her. 

I can honestly say that this book was perfection from start to finish.

Iron Widow is a permission slip for people to be angry, to be unforgiving, and to say “No, fuck you.” As Zetian is used and belittled and controlled over and over again, she begins to learn that the only person who can shame her is herself. The only person who can tell her what to do is herself. She is absolutely a badass to look up to as she refuses to be anything other than her powerful self and will subdue anyone who gets in her way. Her rage is so raw and visceral that it made my blood sing especially considering the reasons she is mad. The injustice is rampantin this book and I have never seen a lead in a YA novel – or potentially any novel really – who seeks to change the world as much as Zetian does. 

Meanwhile, this book also has one of the greatest romance subplots I have ever read in my life. Bad ass bad boy with a sunshine heart? Check. Wholesome sunshine study boy who is ruthless on in the inside? Check. A female lead that doesn’t want to need to choose between the two and instead and truly wholesome and functioning polycule forms? CHECK! Iron Widowis one again the first example I’ve read of a truly healthy relationship in YA and it’s actually between three people!

So I truly want to say thank you to Xiran. Thank you for this beautiful book that is a permission slip to be angry. A permission slip to take your life by the goddamn horns and take what is yours. To love how you want to and be who you are. Thank you for giving the reminder that we don’t owe forgiveness or compassion to those who have genuinely abused us and that found family is no less legitimate than blood relatives.

Thank you for this incredible book that is going to mean so much to so many people who have been put down and stuffed into boxes of expectations. For fans of Pacific Rim and Darling in the FRAXXwith the feminist anger of Handmaid’s Tale, please pick it up when it hit shelves tomorrow if you haven’t already pre-ordered it.


TRIGGER WARNING NOTE: Please be aware that this book does contain instances of foot binding, abuse, sexual harassment, alcoholism, and extreme withdrawal.

REVIEW: Nightb*tch

The synopsis for Rachel Yoder’s debut novel, Nightbitch is as follows:

One day, the mother was a mother but then, one night, she was quite suddenly something else…

At home full-time with her two-year-old son, an artist finds she is struggling. She is lonely and exhausted. She had imagined – what was it she had imagined? Her husband, always travelling for his work, calls her from faraway hotel rooms. One more toddler bedtime, and she fears she might lose her mind.

Instead, quite suddenly, she starts gaining things, surprising things that happen one night when her child will not sleep. Sharper canines. Strange new patches of hair. New appetites, new instincts. And from deep within herself, a new voice…

Despite what you make think based on this alone, I promise you that this is not at all what you will expect. Despite the marketing pitching this book more towards “dark literary fiction” but that definitely leads away from the mind-numbing, reality-bending rollercoaster of a story it contains. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, myself, as I got ready to crack the cover. Was it going to be a contemporary thriller with hints of the surreal? Was it leaning more towards horror? If it was horror, what subgenre? Even after finishing the book, I still don’t think I know the answer to any of these questions, but I decided to approach it from the horror standpoint since that is where I personally felt the story best sat.

As our mostly nameless protagonist (the mother, later known as Nightbitch) slowly sinks into her reality the story becomes both unsettling and uplifting at the same time. Yoder really blew me away with her ability to make me feel so much rage at useless spouses while feeling reminded and validated in being able to demand what you need in life. The way the hopelessness of the women of this story is portrayed, showing both sides of the “stay at home mother”, was so well written and so important for all genders to see. Just because a parent – but especially cis-female mothers – stays home, it does not mean that they have an easy life. Childcare is no joke. Managing the household is no joke. In the context of this book, these women have given up their very successful careers and dreams of the future of those careers to care for their children. They struggle with this sense of resentment towards their children, their husbands, towards themselves for giving in. It’s a side of womanhood that I don’t think enough people, in general, consider when passing judgement.

Reading this book as a transman has been complicated. I have related a lot to how Nightbitch feels, wanting to go absolutely feral over truly unfair situations and seeing people I know in the depiction of her husband. I’ve seen my own single mother in these pages and seen fears I had as a child coming from a single-parent household. I felt a weird sense of validation emotionally from this book while also feeling uncomfortable at the idea of motherhood in relation to myself.

The un-reality of this book was also incredibly trippy. Was Nightbitch really becoming a dog? Was her husband really on board with everything? Was her son? I love a good “what’s real” story and I’m still unsure of several moments and what they meant. But that isn’t at all a bad thing. This book is amazing but I am also unsure of if I liked it if that makes sense. Regardless though, this is not a book soon forgotten and I’m definitely going to be reading it again in the future.

The other thing I want to say as a bit of an afterthought though is in regards to the book being optioned for a film adaption:

According to Deadline, Amy Adams is set to star in this film and I think that’s a horrible decision. I already sense that the film is going to be marketed to the world as “ooh spooky thriller for stereotypical homebound mommy” and that is not what this book needs at all. As a huge fan of psychological horror that seeks to intentionally make viewers uncomfortable, I feel like that’s the route this adaptation should be heading towards. An adaptation that would end up on some list-article of “Top Movies That Made People Collapse At Cannes”. If this book came out ten years ago, I would give anything to see Lars Von Trier as the head of the adaptation starring the likes of Charlotte Gainsbourg. It screams of the aesthetic of AntiChrist and deserves a proper horrifying, ban-worthy film adaptation.

If I haven’t scared you off with this review, do just be aware of some potential trigger warnings including animal abuse/mutilation, mild body horror, fixation on appearance, hypochondriac behaviour.

A Wiseguy vs. A Goodfella: a mafia double feature

The True Story

Before Martin Scorsese’s beloved movie, there was just Nicholas Pileggi and his book about Henry Hill. The novel is written as if each chapter is a different interview-based article in the same series. The escapades of Henry and his friends, his fellow wiseguys, are told not exactly in chronological order and range from being a 12-year-old boy learning to park cars to being a grown man being told his best friends have been whacked by his other best friends. It’s not at all a glamorous story despite the girls and the cars and the clubs that are involved. It tackles domestic abuse and substance abuse, the way people get lost in gambling and the realities of being a mafia guy’s girl back in the 60s and 70s.

I really appreciated that this was someone’s life being told by a journalist rather than a true crime writer because I feel that journalists really know how to tell these kinds of stories and which details matter most. Being able to get the perspectives from not just Henry but from his wife, his girlfriend, and – towards the end – the officers that brought down the whole operation just rounds out the story so wonderfully. Getting all sides helps the reality of the situations take centre stage instead of it just being a “let’s rely on one point of view”. Karen’s interview moments were especially eye opening as she tells the truth about what it’s like to be a wife in the mob, to be told everyone will take care of you but how that really only happens in the movies. Honestly the way this book is written reminded me of how the 2016 documentary about Amanda Knox was filmed. Mafia stories these days are all about the money and the rules and the romance, but the reality of organised crime is so much darker and upsetting. I appreciated reading this book before seeing the film for the first time.

The Film

Right off the bat I noticed that things were changed. Other than Henry and his family, everyone else had different last names than in the book – which to me mostly just raises the question of what kind of permissions are needed to make a film like Goodfellas when it’s about very real crime family that could very seriously lash out. The use of narration from throughout the film is utilized wonderfully as it switches between Henry and Karen setting the scene.

There were a few minor changes, of course, to the story but if I hadn’t finished the book only the day before, I would still have enjoyed the movie. It was well acted by Ray Liotta and of course Robert De Niro was wonderful (and looking his best, might I say). Being a 90s kid to my core it was neat seeing Joe Pesci in this light, and he was great as the lunatic, Tommy. Having only really known who Pesci was from jokes on shows like Family Guy, I seriously enjoyed his cutthroat performance.

Was it the greatest movie ever the way people have told me it is? Not really, but I can clearly see why it is appreciated so much.

REVIEW: Greenlights

I tend to have very specific tastes when it comes to nonfiction. If it’s not about neuroscience or true crime, I’m normally not overly interested. But every now and again a memoir comes up that I just know I need to get my hands on, and one of those memoirs was Matthew McConaughey’s book Greenlights.

Say what you will about his filmography, but I enjoy his movies and could honestly listen to the audio of those Lincoln commercials on loop forever. Knowing that Mr. McConaughey was going to be narrating his own memoir/autobiography/inspiration book thing, I immediately got it for the sake of listening to that soothing southern drawl of his.

The book in the audio format feels like a conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in awhile combined with an inspiration TEDtalk about believing in yourself, in the moment, in life. I really enjoyed learning more about Matthew McConaughey as a person outside of his films and the tabloid rumours about his eccentricities. His upbringing was one I wouldn’t have expected and he has done some truly incredible things that make me respect him on a more personal level. There’s just something in the way he writes/talks that feel so warm, welcoming, and familiar. The likelihood of my ever meeting Matther McConaughey is so slim it may as well be nonexistent, but this audiobook genuinely feels so informal and friendly I don’t really know what else to say.

I will admit that my attention did start to waver a bit towards the end of the audiobook, but for the vast majority of the experience, I was laughing and intrigued at the same time. The prescriptions and “bumper stickers” throughout the book are all very insightful and having been haunted by the feeling of being trapped in stagnation for so long, the little phrases and sayings and states of mind let me get away from that, even if only for a moment.

Obviously I would recommend this more for people who enjoy the works of Mr. McConaughey already, but if you’re in the mood for an audiobook that’s less that 8 hours and a Texan with the most soothing voice in the world, I would recommend it to you as well.

A Hollywood Double Feature – Tarantino Style

Disclaimer I guess??? This review contains language relevant to Tarantino’s body of work. Sorry if cursing offends you.

I don’t typically pick up novelizations or tie-ins for movies I’m not diehard in love with. And I never pick up novelizations of movies from directors I don’t particularly enjoy. However, when I heard that the novelization of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood was not only going to include the “director’s cut” of moments that weren’t in or just couldn’t be included in the film but that Quentin Tarantino himself was going to write it, I was intrigued. Throw in the face that it was only being published as a vintage-style mass market paperback, and I was buying it immediately on release day. What can I say, pulp novels are an aesthetic joy of mine.

But then I started reading it and well… I was not expecting any of the thoughts it would bring to me. I was not prepared for the emotions I brought back that I haven’t experienced since film school graduation left me bitter, broke, and jaded as all hell. I wasn’t ready to literally feel LOVE radiate out of a fucking Quentin Tarantino movie-turned-book.

T H E F I L M

Seemingly pitched to viewers as a movie of the Manson Family (especially considering it was released the summer of ’19 – the 50thanniversary of the Tate-LaBianca murders), Quentin Tarantino’s movie was anything but. Following actor-on-the-downfall, Rick Dalton, and his stuntman-turned-personal-assistant, Cliff Booth, the movie Once Upon A Time In Hollywood gives us an entirely realistic view of how the Golden Age of Hollywood was. Of course this is still Tarantino, though, so this reality is still slightly-to-the-left as the ending gives us a happier conclusion of what happened on the night of August 9th, 1969. 

The movie is fun, goofy, and heartfelt while still keeping to the ridiculous Tarantino bloodbath ending. The scale of the cast alone is magnificent to see as huge actors play the smallest roles – a feat I truly think only Tarantino is capable of doing. Over the last two years I kept my opinion on the fact that it was a good enough movie, but my dedication to true crime and the many research projects I’ve done on Charles Manson and his girls kept my head out of the point. I could tell it was a homage to old Hollywood, a salute to what came out of it, but I didn’t think too much more.

Rewatching the movie after reading the “novelization” was a treat and a half. I noticed far more of the details, appreciated what Tarantino was doing far more. Leo DiCaprio’s subtlety as vulnerability as Rick is sublime and every scene with Mirabella (Trudi) made me tear up. Naturally it’s still a bit of a let down we only see Damon Herriman as Charlie for like two seconds (he’s an amazing actor), I know I can still get more of him in the role by watching Mindhunter. It’s difficult to keep on track with talking about the movie because there’s just so much going on in it, but I can happily say I adore it to it’s core at this moment.

T H E     N O V E L I Z A T I O N

Many millennial and gen-x readers will be familiar with the concept of novelizations, books that came out after a successful film that was a direct adaptation of screen to page. Sometimes they were fun and sometimes they were terrible, but they were always the story we expected. These days, move-to-book adaptations are less of an adaptation, and more of a tie-in, adding more dialogue or context and nuance to better convey the story and add more depth to scenes that were potentially shortened in the editing room or by producer demands.

When it comes to Quentin Tarantino’s own novelization of his film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, this is not a novelization in the conventional sense, and that point needs to come with something of a disclaimer.

If you do not give a flying fuck about the history of film and television production during the 40s through the early 70s then this book is not for you. Doesn’t matter if you love the movie, you have to love the boring parts of cinema as well, the important details in production, to give a shit about this book.

I’ve always loved the little details in film and my obsession with true crime and pulp novels means I have a soft spot for this “golden age” of Hollywood. Having fallen even more in love with production details while in film school, the fact that the first 100-or-so pages of this book reads like a text on critical film theory regarding genre films and international arthaus as political commentary made me so happy I was basically giggling like an idiot while reading. Sans for the part where Cliff says he liked Breathless (I hate this stupid French film so much), I agreed with just about everything that was being said.

As the novel goes on, in Tarantino’s typical non-linear fashion, it becomes less and less a story of Rick Dalton fighting against the Manson Family, and more a story of how Hollywood has always torn down it’s icons at every chance. It’s a character study of men hitting middle age and learning where they went wrong and trying to do better for themselves. As Rick’s role on Lancer starts eating at him, the way Tarantino weaves together the story of the pilot with the story of Rick’s self-hatred, it’s a beautiful thing to follow along.

If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall of a Hollywood set, this is a book that does that. While I have had my own reservations about Tarantino’s work in general, this “novelization” has shifted so much of how I think of him. No matter what your opinion is, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood: A Novel is the biggest love note to cinema that I have ever come across and it is slap-you-in-the-face clear just how much Tarantino cares about his movies, others’ movies, others’ shows, and every one of the actors that takes place in them. 

Did this book make it any more of a Manson story than the bit pieces in the movie? Absolutely not. Was it any more accurate? Hard no. But it was a bigger realization that this wasn’t a Manson story. This isn’t about Charlie or the girls. This is about a period in time and you can’t ignore what was going on just to tell a story about a failing Western super star. You can’t mention the collapse of Spahn Ranch without mentioning Charlie.

Absolutely not for everyone, this is a book I know I will be reading again and again. This is a book that reminded me why I loved film, why I pushed myself through film school despite how hard it was to bear, why I still care about film without working in it anymore. 

A few days ago I said I would fight Tarantino in a Denny’s parking lot with joy, that I was giving him a chance to truly impress me with this book. And I’ll be damned if he didn’t do just that. He impressed me and reminded what it is to love art. Cheers, Quentin. You bastard.

ARC REVIEW: Bofuri #1

Thank you to YenPress and NetGalley for sending me an ARC of this light novel

Bofuri – I Don’t Want to Get Hurt, So I’ll Max Out My Defence! is probably one of the most adorable and wholesome light novels I have read in a long time and having seen the first two episodes of the anime prior to reading, I’m so happy with how wonderful it was.

The series primarily follows Kaede as she assumes her in-game persona, Maple, in a new VRMMORPG after her best friend Riza (Sally) talks her into playing. Afraid of getting hurt in-game, Maple chooses to main as a great shielder and throw all of her skill points into her defence. Stumbling her way through the game as someone who doesn’t play many video games at all, Maple gains bizarre skill after bizarre skill thanks to her strange build and starts to gain a lot of attention from the other players. Of course, being the sweet girl that she is, Maple has no clue just how many people are noticing her.

Maple is honestly the sweetest most innocent gaming-isekai character I have ever come to adore. She’s kind to everyone and so thankful when others are kind to her. As she stumbles around in her naive way, the other gamers around her can’t help but want to give her a hand. And honestly, it’s the other gamers that make me so happy while reading this. An element of the novel is told through a forum chat between some anonymous players who have made it their goal to keep an eye on Maple so people don’t take advantage of her. Even though these players are mostly at a distance, Chrome – another great shield player who is a part of the chat – has a few moments on page that show what a caring person he is. The way he mentions how much he instantly connected with Maple is so sweet. Gaming IRL and gaming as shown in anime are always so competitive and focused on PK (player-killing) story lines, it’s so incredibly nice to have a light novel set in a gaming world that has a little more joy to it.

Maple’s best friend Sally is also a total sweetheart, she’s also more of a gamer than Maple is so the two of them work together to level up and learn all about the weird world they’re playing in. She’s just as cute as Maple is and just as happy with things. What really made me love Sally is a single moment that – to me – felt like a pure homage to Sword Art Online (arguably the best gaming-isekai in the world, I will die on this hill). While watching a floating castle in the sky, Maple asks Sally if she thinks they’ll ever get to look around a place like that. Sally gets quiet, saying that she once played in a floating castle in a different game. Whether intentional or not, a reference to Sally being an SAO survivor tugged at me. Even if I’m projecting haha.

If you’re looking to get into light novels but want a “beginner” series to start with, I high recommend picking up this one. I can’t wait to see what’s to come from the series and I look forward to Maple forming a proper guild party of her own and being a cool, happy-go-lucky gamer with all of her friends.

Bofuri #1 (the light novel) is now available to purchase online and in stores. The anime adaptation is also currently available on Funimation!

ARC REVIEW: Aetherbound

Thank you to Penguin Teen Canada for providing me with an eARC via NetGalley.

I’m a big fan of E.K. Johnston’s work in the Star Wars universe, so I was very excited to receive and ARC of her newest stand-alone sci-fi YA novel, AetherboundI was even more excited to learn that the incredible Ashley Eckstein was going to be narrating the audiobook – what kindStar Wars fan doesn’t love Ashley?!

Aetherbound is an interesting foray into worldbuilding. Society has been seemingly reduced to live aboard space stations and cargo ships, everyone having a place and a use to the rest of the collective or else they are placed elsewhere (or even killed for being a waste of supplies). A certain kind of magic exists as well, in tune with a force called the Aether. Pendt Harland is in tune with the Aether but in a way not useful to the crew, but of potentially high value to others and is at risk of being sold to another ship or station upon her 18th birthday. When she decides it’s time to escape her life and her family, Pendt meets the Brannick twins and the three of them work together to make their lives their own.

The worldbuilding in this novel is intense. I loved all the concepts introduced and the complexity of the essentially closed societies that have been formed on the stations as well as the ships. That being said, a lot of it was told through massive info-dumping rather than being teased out by the characters. It made the novel feel like it wasn’t quite formed in its entirety at times and read more like a planning guide rather than a finished story. I would have liked it to have been explained more through dialogue or character actions rather than informative narration as I feel that would have built a closer connection to the characters and been a more immersive story. I liked the characters enough, Pendt is a sweet and perseverant girl and I loved the Brannick twins immediately, but I wanted more from them. I wanted more of a reason to cheer them on than just the upsetting circumstances this world has put them in.

Said “upsetting circumstances” definitely did make me uncomfortable at several moments, so I did appreciate the trigger warnings for medical trauma and calorie counting (not eating disorder based for anyone wondering, it’s more of a portion control thing) that were listed at the beginning. Selling off young girls (yes, 18 is young) for the sake of them being able to have children is really uncomfortable and the insemination moments had such an intense air of violation that I skimmed over the scene as fast as I could. I almost think that this novel would have been better has it been longer, with more time to tease out the world building, and marketed as more of a new adult or even straight up adult science fiction novel.

I still love E.K. Johnston and I will still continue to support her work, but I won’t like and say my 3-star rating for this one is mostly based on Ashley Eckstein doing an amazing job with the audiobook….


Aetherbound is now available in stores and online.

ARC REVIEW: Do Not Disturb

Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for providing me with an ARC. I send my apologies for not getting to it sooner.

Do Not Disturb by Claire Douglas is a domestic thriller set in a small, remote village in Wales. After her husband suffers a mental health crisis, Kirsty thinks it would be best to start over somewhere fresh. Uprooting her family from their life in London, Kirsty, Adrian, and their two young daughters move into a Gothic old guesthouse with Kirsty’s mother in hopes of beginning over again as the owners of a cute B&B. When estranged family brings drama with them, things take a dark turn and results in a murder that any one of them could have committed.

What I was hoping for out of this novel was a Clue-like murder mystery filled with tension and false leads. Unfortunately for more, this was actually a domestic thriller – a sub-genre that I always think I like more than I actually do. That’s not to say this book isn’t good – I mean, I read the whole thing in less than three days – but domestic thrillers just aren’t my thing.

What I liked was the pacing, the way the drama unfolds is fast paced and makes you itch for what is going on. The first-person perspective from Kirsty really adds an extra layer of suspicion regarding who can actually be trusted, making the pace seem even faster as it makes you want to keep reading. The twists were wild and for a moment, actually tricked me into thinking this was a different kind of book all together. I applaud Douglas on writing so many different red herrings and interweaving so many individual story threads. If domestic thrillers are your thing, I 100% recommend this one.

Trigger warnings: attempted suicide, mentions of completed suicide, child abuse, mentions of sexual assault, alcoholism

REVIEW: Territory of Light

I’m going to start this review right off the bat by saying that I picked this book up for the sole reason that Tsushima Yuuko is the daughter of Dazai Osamu, my favourite Japanese author in history. Had it not been for that connection I honestly doubt I would have picked it up at all.

Territory of Light is a short novella made up of serialized vignettes that look into the life of the nameless narrator as she does her best to raise her two-year-old daughter in the midsts of a separation. Dreamlike in the way these peaks into a life on the edge of losing it all, this novella drifts in and out of time as it deals with loss, longing, depression, and the hardships a young single mother faces.

From the beginning, my own childhood definitely resulted in this book inflicting a few gut punches, but then it began to shift in a way I’m not sure I can explain and instead of seeing myself in the place of the narrator’s daughter, I imagined the author and her mother overlapping within the characters. Tsushima was only a year old when Dazai was discovered dead, having drowned in a canal with his lover, Yamazaki Tomie. I can’t begin to imagine the trauma that caused for Tsushima, let alone her mother who had clearly been abandoned due to Dazai’s self destructive whims and ever changing moods. When the narrator discusses the death of her father within the story, and the way it affected the character of her mother, it read to me as an accusation – but not necessarily a negative one – directed at Dazai for not being there, for leaving them not only for another woman, but in death as well.

Knowing what I know about Dazai absolutely coloured my reading this book and I found something cathartic in reading it as well as greatly appreciating the different perspective – even if it’s a fictionalized one – regarding a man I greatly admire. I definitely plan on seeing out more of Tsushima’s work available in English and hope to one day be able to read her stories in the original Japanese. It would be curious to see if her style is similar to that of her father’s. Especially considering both were cursed with only placing second for the Akutagawa prize.