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The Ghosts of Nagasaki

Author: Daniel Clausen
Publisher: Daniel Clausen
Publication Date: Aug 2012
Genre: Literary Fiction, Existentialism
Pages: 316

Book Description: One night a foreign business analyst in Tokyo sits down in his spacious high rise apartment and begins typing something. The words pour out and exhaust him. He soon realizes that the words appearing on his laptop are memories of his first days in Nagasaki four years ago. 

Nagasaki was a place full of spirits, a garrulous Welsh roommate, and a lingering mystery. 

Somehow he must finish the story of four years ago–a story that involves a young Japanese girl, the ghost of a dead Japanese writer, and a mysterious island. He must solve this mystery while maneuvering the hazards of middle management, a cruel Japanese samurai, and his own knowledge that if he doesn’t solve this mystery soon his heart will transform into a ball of steel, crushing his soul forever. Though he wants to give up his writing, though he wants to let the past rest, within his compulsive writing lies the key to his salvation.

*Book won through LibraryThing’s Member Giveaway*

Writing a DNF review is hard for me. I have a really hard time with putting down a book. I’m one of those people that I will try my hardest to finish a book no matter if I like it or not. But I realize that with all the books in the world and all the ones I own that I haven’t read yet, life is too short. I can’t be spending time on a book I know I won’t enjoy.

I won this book through LibraryThing’s member giveaway and my interaction with the author was nice. As a person goes, he seemed very nice and friendly and I was happy to read this book for him (albeit it did get pushed aside for other books with deadlines and for that I’m sorry).

When I started reading this book I wasn’t sure what to make of it. The writing was smooth in the sense that the grammar and structure of it made sense and was easy to understand. What threw me was the change in time. From what I read it seemed like the book was written in a stream of consciousness, where the protagonist is trying to write down his past to reconcile with the ghosts in his life. This made for a really confusing read, trying to figure out which parts were present and which were from the past since the timing changed frequently and often on the same page multiple times. The premise seemed interesting but I realized quickly that this would be one of those books not for me. I’m not a big fan of those existentialist and deep-thought provoking type of books. I read to get away, not to have to think about my life and the way I live it. I soon found myself drifting off and wanting to do something else because the book just didn’t appeal to me.

I can see why this book would get such great ratings. The writing is well done, the topic interesting and there seems to be enough intrigue to keep people reading. Unfortunately, I am not the target audience for this book. If you love this type of thought-provoking stories then I say pick up this book and see how if you like it. If you’re like me where you’re looking more to escape from reality, then this book is probably not for you. I might come back to this book later on in life when I’m looking for this type of literature, but for now I think I’ll put it down.