RavePopMattersThe story of Ito’s struggle for justice—the multiple police investigations, civil and criminal cases, and the social and political context against which they were set—are told in straightforward, gripping prose ... astonishing, infuriating, and yet ultimately inspiring ... the twists and turns of the case lend her book the quality of a riveting political thriller ... But that’s not the main purpose of Black Box. It is, above all, an indictment of the haphazard and incompetent manner in which sexual assault is handled by all levels of relevant authorities in Japan ... a remarkable achievement from a talented journalist who turns her reporter’s lens on her own traumatizing experience of sexual assault. Yet amid the fury and outrage that the reader cannot help but feel, it also generates a sense of hope.
Zülfü Livaneli, tr. Brendan Freely
RavePopMattersGripping ... Livaneli has produced a novel that, despite its brevity, manages to perfectly encapsulate the remarkable diversity of modern-day Turkey ... Livaneli depicts to striking effect the changes that have occurred in the country during the past decade of dictatorship ... What opens as an engaging political mystery suddenly morphs into fictionalized warzone reportage, and so abrupt is the shift that the reader literally feels like they’ve slammed into a wall. The effect is a literary triumph, underscoring how quickly social realities can be transformed, and how seemingly impossible contrasts can co-exist so near to each other ... Livaneli tackles an impressive array of themes for such a short novel ... Disquiet is an important book, both as literature and politics. Grounded in the circumstances of the Yazidis, it speaks to globally transcendent themes of refugees and displaced populations the world over. Most importantly, it forces the reader to interrogate our own complicity in these ongoing tragedies, and what we can and should do to atone for them.
Kuniko Tsurita, Trans. by Ryan Holmberg
RavePopMattersOne of the most compelling aspects of her work is the way she combined an interest in progressive politics with an unblinkered feminism. Much of her work evokes the ambiance of countercultural protest movements, but there\'s a critical edge to it, a deliberate irony, revealing the misogyny and hypocrisy that pervaded progressive movements then as now ... The collection does a superb job showcasing the diversity of Tsurita\'s style ... It also contains an outstanding biographical and critical essay written by Holmberg and Asakawa, introducing Tsurita as a person and a creator and putting her life and work in context ... Her short works virtually demand repeat readings: initially cryptic, always compelling, inviting the reader to try again, and offering new suggestions and meanings with each read. The unrestrained avant-garde nature of her work, with its sparse use of dialogue, facilitates this, and renders most of her work just as readable and relatable today as when it was first penned half a century ago. The Sky Is Blue with a Single Cloud is a superb and beautiful collection, one worth repeated readings for pleasure and reflection alike.