Book Review: When Marnie Was There & Musings on the Studio Ghibli Adaptation-to-Come

When Marnie Was There header Original Language: English
Year: 1967
Joan Robinson
Publisher: Collins
Place of Publication: London
Genre: Children’s novel
Edition: Collins Modern Classics (2002 edition, second-hand copy)
Other Editions and Translations: No other editions are currently in print in English. The book has apparently been translated into several languages, although I can only confirm that there is a Japanese version (「思い出のマーニー」) as well as a German one (Damals mit Marnie).
Update: If you are UK-based, you can now purchase a Kindle version of When Marnie Was There on Elsewhere, you’ll still have to seek out second-hand copies of the book.
When Studio Ghibli announced earlier this month that its next project was to be an adaptation of Joan G. Robinson’s When Marnie Was There, with Yonebayashi Hiromasa directing, I quickly – after reading unequivocally raving reviews – searched for a copy. First published in 1967 to “great success” (283) and even featuring in BBC children’s programme Jackanory in the 1970s, a few decades on When Marnie Was There had all but disappeared, remaining a precious memory for people who had loved the book as children but could no longer find it anywhere. Continue reading “Book Review: When Marnie Was There & Musings on the Studio Ghibli Adaptation-to-Come”

Review: 風の又三郎 ガラスのマソト (Kaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto/The Glass Cape)

Year: 1989
Director: Toshiya Itoh
Screenplay: Tsutui Tomomi, Toshiya Itoh
Cinematography: N/A
Cast: Hayase Misato, Kobayashi Yu, Shiga Junichi, Amasaga Toshiyuki, Uchida Asao, Dan Fumi, Kusakari Masao
Runtime: 107 min
Trailer: no trailer available, but 4 min clip of the opening is on YouTube
Seen at a screening as part of the Films at the Embassy of Japan programme.
It’s another film that is simply magicalKaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto (literally Matasaburō of the Wind: Cape of Glass) depicts a story of childhood in the rural Japan of the 1920s. At the heart of the tale is Takada (Kobayashi Yu), a young boy, whose father is transferred to a remote village in the Tōhoku region. Takada arrives there on the very windy 210th day of the year, which immediately raises suspicion in the village children: he must, they whisper amongst themselves, be Matasaburō, the son of the wind god, who appears on this day and stays until the 220th – a suspicion that seems confirmed when it turns out that Takada’s first name is Saburō. Continue reading “Review: 風の又三郎 ガラスのマソト (Kaze no Matasaburō: Garasu no masoto/The Glass Cape)”

Book Review: 엄마를 부탁해 (Eommareul Butakhae/Please Look After Mother) by Shin Kyung-sook

Cover of the Korean Original

Original Language: Korean
Translator: Kim Chi-young
Year: 2011 (Korean original from 2008)
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nelson
Place of Publication: London
Genre: novel (fiction)
Edition: ebook for Kindle (UK)
Other Editions and Translations:  Amazon US; Spanish Por favor, cuida de mamá; French Prends soin de maman, Italian Prenditi cura di lei; Polish Zaopiekuj sie moja mama. Translations into a total of 29 languages are currently in the planning.
Except for multiple re-readings of all English translations of Thomas Mann’s Der Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) and Murakami Haruki’s 1Q84 (Books 1 and 2), I have done very little reading of fiction as of late. Then 엄마를 부탁해 (Please Look After Mother) came along: I was, admittedly, already on the lookout for some Korean literature, but this book kept being mentioned everywhere: at various places online, in an MA essay I was marking, and so forth. And then it popped up in the Guardian the other day, in a gallery of books that made it onto the shortlist of the Man Asian Literary Prize (winner to be announced March 15), giving me a final push to purchase and read it.
Continue reading “Book Review: 엄마를 부탁해 (Eommareul Butakhae/Please Look After Mother) by Shin Kyung-sook”

Review: 「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」 (Maimai Shinko to sen-nen no mahō/Mai Mai Miracle)

Year: 2009
Director: Katabuchi Sunao
Screenplay: Katabuchi Sunao
Cinematography: Masumoto Yukihiro
Art Direction: Uehara Shinichi
Voice Cast: Fukuda Mayuko, Mizusawa Nako, Morisako Ei, Honjou Manami
Music: Murai Shusei, Minako “mooki” Obata
Theme song: こどものせかい (Kodomo no sekai/Children’s World) by Kotringo
Runtime: 95 min
Trailer: on YouTube (not subtitled)
Film’s official website: Mai-Mai
 (in Japanese)
Only one word is really needed to describe Mai Mai Miracle: it’s simply magical.
Continue reading “Review: 「マイマイ新子と千年の魔法」 (Maimai Shinko to sen-nen no mahō/Mai Mai Miracle)”