Posts tagged ‘World Literature’

August 11, 2012

Koushun Takami: Battle Royale

by Monika

Suzanne Collins is probably tired of repeating she has never heard of Battle Royale (published in 1999) before she wrote her – in many ways – version of it. It is not to say the Hunger Games is a rip off of Battle Royale, but it is hard to not compare them as the idea is very much alike: bunch of kids forced to murder each other in a Roman style competition. On the other hand Battle Royale is just so much better on so many levels. Maybe it is because The Hunger Games is after all a PG-13 rated ambiguous and soppy family story that we keep in our Children Section.  Battle Royal is when sh*t hits the fan. Dripping with blood, rebellious, relentless, surreal, shocking and creepy, but in many ways funny and very much self-aware, Battle Royale is a terrifying, existentially pessimistic cry of teenage protest against the adult world.

The film (released in 2000) based on the book is also worthy to look at. Tarantino once said: “If there’s any movie that’s been made since I’ve been making movies that I wish I had made, it’s that one.” Interestingly the film is PG-18 rated in the West but Japanese standards rate this bloody massacre as PG-15, so many countries, so many customs. Give it a go and tell all about it to your Hunger Games loving friends!

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August 5, 2012

Artur Domosławski: Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life

by Monika

 There  are not many as disappointing things in life as finding out that someone whose work you’ve always admired was not an impeccable, godlike figure, but a deeply flawed human being. Suddenly it’s down to us to judge if we can overlook these flaws or if we find them utterly unforgivable. This is a decision that the reader of ‘Ryszard Kapuściński: A Life” by Artur Domosławski (translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones) will have to make for himself. Domoslawski hit hard with a brilliant and thoroughly fascinating biography that openly questions the veracity of Kapuściński’s writing as well as the nature of his political engagement in Communist Poland. It’s a book that caused a little civil war in reporter’s home country: Kapuściński’s wife tried to stop it from being published – fortunately, in vain. It is a beautifully written testimony, full of respect and understanding that is aimed at truth, before that truth would have been (surely) revealed by some other, (surely) far less kind source. A must read.