The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen

The Ghosts of Nagasaki by Daniel Clausen: Bottom line up front: I have absolutely no idea what this book is about. The American narrator currently works in Tokyo as some kind of business analyst, having originally moved to the country as an English teacher in Nagasaki. The story regularly shifts between present day, where the narrator is writing his memoirs, and the memoirs themselves, but everything is written in present tense, making it tough to tell what happens when. There’s a chatty Welshman, some ghosts who may or may not actually be real people, a few cats, some persecuted Christians, a missing heart, and a whole lot of introspection. This isn’t a bad book, but it is a very difficult one to follow. I imagine there’s quite a bit of symbolism I missed. In short, this book is extremely literary, the sort I would imagine being dissected by college students in essays. If that’s your cup of tea, you’ll enjoy this one, but if you’re just looking for a straightforward piece of storytelling, you might want to give this one a miss.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

  1. UGH I cannot abide the overuse and misuse of present tense for things that are not actually happening in the moment.

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