Read ➲ 氷点 (Hyōten) Author Ayako Miura –

氷点 (Hyōten) Although it is standard high school reading in Japan, the works of Miura Ayako are unknown in the States, and that s a pity Freezing Point was recommended by a Japanese friend of mine and it s truly a great work, despite the poor translation that was full of misspellings and grammatical errors.The set up, which I have vastly over simplified to save others some of the inspired twists and turns, is about a husband who, after discovering his wife is having an affair, tricks her into raising a daughter that is not hers It s a vengeful and malicious act that goes terribly wrong or right, depending on your point of view and never in ways that you expect It s a wild ride, full of surprises murder and shipwrecks and incest but also full of heartache and joy and tenderness all crowned with a beautifully ambiguous ending.This kind of story probably wouldn t work in a Western country, where bloodlines are not so sacrosanct, where adoption is common, where Christian values of neighborly love outweigh Confucian values of family and tradition, but that is precisely the point Miura Ayako as a child was a militant patriot who believed in the idea of a superior Japanese spirit After Japan s devastating defeat in WWII, she turned to nihilism, gave up on life, and later, was only revived again by her discovery of Christianity This is a novel about Christian values set in modern Japan It s subtle and effective, so subtle and effective that it has become a revered classic in a non Christian country, with the same regard that, say, The Great Gatsby has acquired in the U.S But, perhaps importantly, it is incredibly entertaining afterall, if you aren t entertained, all the philosophy and symbolism in the world will not save your novel I suppose if I had to compare Miura Ayako to an English writer, I might choose Somerset Maugham, for they are both deeply moralistic writers, writing realistically, with psychological insight and a great flair for scandalous story telling Despite the awkward prose style that is almost certainly a result of the poor translation, this novel is still a page turner that packs a wallop of an ending As a gift to all those who are after a little than mere entertainment, it s all woven together with philosophic threads A terrific novel that every American ought to read as well. In many respects this novel is like Japanese fiction by such well known authors as Soseki, Taniguchi, or Kawabata a slow moving, if not ponderous, plot with an intense focus on the inner lives of many of its characters punctuated by periodic melodramatic events This allows for the gradual unfolding of their true natures with impressive depth and subtlety For those who have seen Kabuki theater and or modern day dramas produced for Japanese TV this will feel familiar, if not comfortable For others this methodical at times overly dramatic style may tax their patience This was especially true for me given that the book was almost 500 pages long The authors noted above often tell their tales quite skillfully in less than 200 pages In the context of the plot Miura portrays elements of Japanese society that are almost as relevant today as they were in the post WWII era when the story takes place Things like how much one s character and or choices in life are determined by one s bloodline and the role that societal expectations plays in one s behavior and relations with others, etc are powerfully depicted, and quietly critiqued for the most part, in the context of the plot I agree with those Goodreads reviewers who noted the inadequacy of the editing translation On a relatively minor but still troubling level there are a smattering of typos and an occasional inappropriate use of prepositions On a significant level the prose, particularly the conversations between characters, is often awkward As I speak conversational Japanese with modest fluency I could tell that the translators were trying too hard to faithfully convert the Japanese into English In doing so the interactions between the characters in English seemed stilted Another aspect of poor editing was the inconsistency in explaining Japanese culture and or customs The translator explaIned some things in parentheses But much was presented without any annotation This would be confusing, if not frustrating, for readers unfamiliar with Japanese culture.Finally, there is one other element of the novel which deserves mention Christianity In a brief autobiographical sketch at the end of the book it is noted that Miura was a member of that faith I would not agree, however, with the sketch s praise for the manner in which she portrayed this aspect of the story For me it was alluded to but not really explored Perhaps this was because this was her first published book Or perhaps it was because of the fact that Christians only make up about 1% of the population in Japan Ie, Miura might have been uncertain or reluctant as to whether how to integrate that element fully into the plot This last fact, the poor translation, and the sometimes melodramatic aspects to the plot left me less satisfied than I otherwise might have been with this novel For that reason I would give it a 3.5 rating Fortunately, some of her other work has been translated into English I will give at least one of these a try in the coming months.For those interested in Christianity in the context of Japanese society I would recommend the novels of Shusaku Endo He was a believer who created some powerful portrayals of what it might be like for a follower of Christ to live in Japan. .. The translation was done by a Japanese speaker into English, so the text feels tedious and awkward at times I also think there were quite a few side trails that didn t contribute to the overall plot Not exactly a lighthearted read, but I am glad that I did finish. 2.75 stars.So much thought was put into this book, which I really admire however, I could not say that the reading experience was pleasurable Perhaps I m a coward for not wanting to read about human s ugly nature when I already know about it laughs.I felt extremely uncomfortable countless times and there were some moments that I seriously contemplated whether to stop reading this book Rather than impressing me, the grey areas in this story sadly makes me disgusted instead The plot is heavy whilst most of the characters are certainly not people I would like to meet in real life I simply could not accept many of the actions or decisions they make as I cannot and will not comprehend them They stem so much rage in me it s astonishing I might give the second book a chance. The English translation of the book Freezing Point is currently out of print, but since I have immense respect for the author Ayako Miura , I thought it would be worth it to track this book down This past year it has been selling for about 160, so I knew I didn t want to purchase the book And of course living in Japan, there s not much access to good old interlibrary loan So I was really excited when we were visiting friends in Sendai over New Years, and they had a copy on their shelves They ve let me borrow the book I think I perhaps I understand now why the book is out of print I discovered that unfortunately, the translation job is quite awkward For example, during all dialogue, there are tiresome uses of he said gently, she said lamely, he bellowed loudly, he replied limply I mean literally after every quotation, there s one of these Another example is that the translators waffle between making the English too colloquial calling male friends chums, or gents and using language that is too formal calling their children our offspring.In all of my reading of other translations of Ayako Miura s work, I ve never noticed these patterns In fact other translations of her work have been so natural that they really go completely unnoticed In her other novels, it feels as if Miura herself is speaking, loud and clear.Here, in Freezing Point, the translation calls attention to itself It gets in the way.Don t get me wrong though Miura still shines through You cannot mask the fact that Freezing Point is an amazing story It is a true drama that takes the reader on an intense psychologial journey The quality of the story, I think, is evidenced by the fact that this book has been made into at least 3 different Japanese movies 1966, 2001, 2006.Through this story, Miura brings the reader into a world where sins, and misunderstandings are never discussed One sees, in tortorous detail, how harbored bitterness seeps into the soul, and grows to murderous proportions I found Miura s descriptions of the thoughts of a woman s heart very convincing eerily familiar in some ways She really is an incredible artist at capturing the human psyche in regards to hurt, revenge, redemption restoration. I re read the Chinese translation of Freezing Point I liked this book better when I was younger, back in the days when I was melodrama I think I cried a lot the last time I read it Forgiveness is the word keep pooping into my mind as I read the book But I guess if everyone practice forgiveness and repentance, there would be no story to tell. Best Ebook, Hy Ten Author Ayako Miura This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Hy Ten , Essay By Ayako Miura Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You This book is all about forgiveness in principle and how forgiveness work IRL I happened to buy one copy from a 2nd hand book fair and did not expect such a quality read for its value It was a bit far dramatic than it should for my taste, but the story is haunting and yes, I actually cried at the end. This is literally my favourite book in the world I read it when I was 13 and since then nth had managed to replace its place in my heart.

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