» » The Summer of the Ubume

Download The Summer of the Ubume epub

by Natsuhiko Kyogoku,Alexander O. Smith

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 spinoffs thus far. Akihiko "Kyogokudo" Chuzenji, the title's hero, is an exorcist with a twist: he doesn't blieve 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.
Download The Summer of the Ubume epub
ISBN: 1934287253
ISBN13: 978-1934287255
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: Natsuhiko Kyogoku,Alexander O. Smith
Language: English
Publisher: Vertical; Original edition (August 18, 2009)
Pages: 320 pages
ePUB size: 1168 kb
FB2 size: 1450 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 422
Other Formats: doc txt docx azw

This isn't exactly a popular title to be translating into English, and the subject matter should have made it an automatic rejection at the publishing house. Let me get this straight... this is a book about obscure elements of the Japanese occult... described for dozens of pages on end with exacting historical detail and explained via psychology and philosophy of the mind... and this detailed backstory almost takes up more of the book than the mystery itself? Who would read it?!

Well, under the hands of an able translator, this book is not only readable but quite exciting. It's an extremely memorable read and makes you think differently about paranormal stories. It's definitely a modern tale that appeals to one's skeptical instinct while still cranking up the suspense and the stomach-wrenching horror. Pick it up.
I found about the Kyogokudo series through a recent anime called Mouryou no Hako, the second book in the series. The Summer of Ubume is the first.

I found the pace of the book to be rather slow in the beginning chapter, but once the investigative work started up, I couldn't put the novel down. I read a good majority of it in two days times.

His character Akihiko Chuuzenji purports, "There is nothing strange in this world." The author, Natsuhiko Kyogoku, attempts to meld what is considered supernatural with the real world. He writes about a post-WWII modernizing Japan that still holds traditional superstitions such as possessing people with spirits. The lectures given by Chuuzenji often attempt to debunk the idea of spirits as the cause of a particular misfortune or explain certain phenomena like clairvoyance as something very real and of this world. It can be heavy at times, but the theories that he throws out are interesting and makes one think.

I would recommend this novel to people who enjoy the mystery genre but are not faint of heart. The truth behind the case is rather gruesome and disturbing, and the author does not mind detailing it. It is also a look into Japanese folklore and spirits, a whole different culture.

I hope that Vertical Inc. will be able to translate the whole series, as this series is like nothing I've encountered before.
the first 100 pages are hard to get in to but after that it does get interesting, over all it is a good novel !
The best of contemporary Japanese fiction. Heavy stuff but a great read.
An ominous and dense book that started somewhat slowly but the buildup is worth it.
I heartily agree with "Amagiri's" terrific review. Here are my two cents about points on which we differ.

Although Natsuhiko Kyogoku writes from the authoritative perspective of someone deeply versed in Japanese folklore, his book focuses on how we as humans address cognitive dissonance, both as individuals and as cultures over time. Do we react objectively and healthily to the "strange", or with prejudice and fear? And the basis of our fear reaction may be so old and painful as to be intractable. These are human traits, not just Japanese.

_The Summer of Ubume_ calls to mind Francisco Goya's etching, _The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters_.

"Strangeness" is in the eye of the beholder, and says more about the limited world view of that beholder than it does about the thing being observed (the cause of the discomfort). Health lies in removing the layers upon layers of protective delusion that limit our world view until we see things as they are. A simple enough task that requires more diligence and courage than we thought possible.

As it stands, this book is a masterpiece which asks the big questions AND answers them satisfyingly, despite the character Kogyokudo's lengthy sophomoric monologues. While I felt that the book would have read more smoothly had some of these been abbreviated, part of me appreciates these little 'flaws'. They make the work more human.
The Summer of the Ubume is the first novel by Natsuhiko Kyogoku, and is the first--alongside Loups-Garous--to get an English translation. Although the plot veers between the supernatural/theological and a noir-influenced mystery, the novel itself feels ambitious and unusual to read. (His later novels are award-winning, notably the next in the series, Moryou no hako, as well as Requiem from the Darkness, which some anime fans may be familiar with.)

Although it has been noted that the opening chapter can be long and somewhat tedious, readers with an interest in the Japanese mythology (specifically the eponymous Ubume, a relatively unknown spirit in the West) or sociological effects on local superstition, will likely enjoy the section quite a bit.

Regardless, once the plot kicks in, it's very close to a page-turner, while retaining the cerebral qualities that make it stand out. It is a difficult book to recommend sight-unseen simply because I don't think it will appeal to *every* reader, despite being an excellent and gripping read. I suggest that interested readers who are unsure as to whether they will enjoy it, try to read a sample section and see if it seems interesting.

I do promise that if readers get past the opening section, that the mystery is actually quite engaging and I'd imagine very few people will figure it out in its elaborate entirety.

As a note, Vertical has done a lovely job of retaining the feel of the Japanese, while making it also a pleasurable read in English. It is not, I imagine, an easy task, given the density of some sections. They have also kept/added editorial footnotes sparingly, when needed to explain a particularly Japanese term or custom. Their thoughtful translation has kept even a plot-critical misunderstanding based on Japanese characters, and they have been able to make it comprehensible to all readers without completely localizing the misunderstanding (which would have been the only other option). Overall, a really admirable job on a challenging text.

Disclaimers aside, I highly recommend this book for those who are used to a more deliberately paced thriller, and especially those who enjoy a philosophical challenge, alongside that of a mystery.