web site hit counter The Woman with the Flying Head and Other Stories - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Woman with the Flying Head and Other Stories

Availability: Ready to download

This is an English-language anthology dedicated to the short stories of Kurahashi Yumiko (1935-), a Japanese novelist of profound intellectual powers. The eleven stories included in this volume suggest the breadth of the author's literary production, ranging from parodies of classical Japanese literature to cosmopolitan avant-garde works, from quasi-autobiography to scienc This is an English-language anthology dedicated to the short stories of Kurahashi Yumiko (1935-), a Japanese novelist of profound intellectual powers. The eleven stories included in this volume suggest the breadth of the author's literary production, ranging from parodies of classical Japanese literature to cosmopolitan avant-garde works, from quasi-autobiography to science fiction. Her subversive fiction defies established definitions of "literature", "Japan", "modernity" and "femininity", and represents an important intellectual aspect of modern Japanese women's literature.


Compare

This is an English-language anthology dedicated to the short stories of Kurahashi Yumiko (1935-), a Japanese novelist of profound intellectual powers. The eleven stories included in this volume suggest the breadth of the author's literary production, ranging from parodies of classical Japanese literature to cosmopolitan avant-garde works, from quasi-autobiography to scienc This is an English-language anthology dedicated to the short stories of Kurahashi Yumiko (1935-), a Japanese novelist of profound intellectual powers. The eleven stories included in this volume suggest the breadth of the author's literary production, ranging from parodies of classical Japanese literature to cosmopolitan avant-garde works, from quasi-autobiography to science fiction. Her subversive fiction defies established definitions of "literature", "Japan", "modernity" and "femininity", and represents an important intellectual aspect of modern Japanese women's literature.

30 review for The Woman with the Flying Head and Other Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    S̶e̶a̶n̶

    I found this at a 'bookstore' where all the books are free. The title of the book drew me in, despite the unfortunate cover design. The back cover quotes (all from trade review journals) describe Kurahashi Yumiko as an experimental writer whose fiction is 'dreamlike', 'surreal', and 'sometimes disturbing'. Thus it went into the stack I was already hauling around. Kurahashi Yumiko won a number of prizes in Japan and achieved some renown there, but her reach has not extended much into the English- I found this at a 'bookstore' where all the books are free. The title of the book drew me in, despite the unfortunate cover design. The back cover quotes (all from trade review journals) describe Kurahashi Yumiko as an experimental writer whose fiction is 'dreamlike', 'surreal', and 'sometimes disturbing'. Thus it went into the stack I was already hauling around. Kurahashi Yumiko won a number of prizes in Japan and achieved some renown there, but her reach has not extended much into the English-reading world. Part of this is due to lack of translation. Besides this book, which collects short fiction from throughout her career, only one of her novels is available in English. Kurahashi was influenced by various modernist, existential, and nouveau roman writers, as well as by Japanese folk tales and Noh plays, the latter two of which she borrows heavily from at times in these stories. Her style is cerebral and straightforward even as she describes scenes such as erotic encounters with extraterrestrials. The surreal is related in a matter-of-fact tone. The resulting distance she creates actually makes these unusual scenes more believable and thus more intriguing to read. The first story, about a sister and brother who wake up to find a large egg on their bedroom floor, sets a high bar for the rest of the book. Attacking heteronormativity head on in this story, Kurahashi investigates incest and bisexuality within a larger exploration of gender and eroticism. Several of the other stories do live up to the promise of this one, including the title story, while others fall short of it. Cats play a starring role in several stories, as do witches. The stories range in length from just a few pages to the 50-page final story 'The Long Passage of Dreams', which interweaves the dreams of a dying man with his elder daughter Mariko's struggles to find her place in the family and home life she has been avoiding. This is a strong collection overall and it prompted me to seek out Kurahashi's novel available in English.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Earwen

    (CW: incest, bestiality, rape, among others) I encountered this book first in a list of female weird fic writers. She was the only name in the list that I never encountered before, unsurprising as only two of her books seem to be translated, and are impossible to get a hold of. If there is one positive thing I can say about my attempt(s) at reading this book is that it led me to learn about The Internet Archieves online library which has many books I couldn't find. I had to wait a few weeks to ge (CW: incest, bestiality, rape, among others) I encountered this book first in a list of female weird fic writers. She was the only name in the list that I never encountered before, unsurprising as only two of her books seem to be translated, and are impossible to get a hold of. If there is one positive thing I can say about my attempt(s) at reading this book is that it led me to learn about The Internet Archieves online library which has many books I couldn't find. I had to wait a few weeks to get The Woman with The Flying Head and was pretty excited to start. Unfortunately I saw no reason to bother finishing it. I read the first 4 stories. Which are as follows (I returned the book by now so I don't have a reference on hand but the titles should be close enough if not exact): The Extraterrestrial : The short version is...Two siblings find an alien egg, hatch it, and well....proceed to use the alien that hatched as a sex toy, oh and then they go um..inside the aliens vagina and into space. The alien itself doesn't really seem to have a will of its own, instead it is just acting in the way others want it to. There are incestual undertones right from the stars, and sure enough they don't remain undertones for long. Out of the stories I read this was the one that got closest to being meaningful or thought provoking in any capacity. Peoples mundane reactions to the alien was honestly kind of funny, like the fathers only thought upon being shown the alien is that it should be legally registered, and later on saying that they should focus on other things besides the alien, but they can still keep it "as a hobby". The closer a character is to being an adult the more mundane they seem to find the alien. The themes of identity are hard to miss, the father is a lawyer, and his whole being is defined by it. The sister is about to be a wife and she seems to be alternately fine with it and not. The siblings are limited by their identity as such, despite being in love with eachother. One unsubtle scene has them have a threesome with the alien in between them and not directly touching eachother. Eventually they go inside the alien to space free of the constrains of their identity...... I'm being fair see? It's not like I'm unable to interpret the text just because of the subject matter. I don't think the message was especially interesting or the method particularly clever. I won't comment on the writing because it is a translated work. Overall it just felt like an amateur, banal attempt at the topic. Still somehow, the best story out of the four I read. The 2nd(We are lovers) and 3rd story(black cat?) are related the eachother and each pretty short. So I'll talk about them together. As you might guess this is were the beastiality cw comes in so I will keep it brief. A couple, a man and a woman each has a cat. The cats both despise the partner of their respective owner. The narrator is the cat of the man, and she is instantly in love with the male white cat of the woman. Later on she decides that the white cat isn't all that and her owner is better so she uh...they kinda have sex I guess. And then it ends. The 2nd story has a couple borrow a "homemade porn tape" from a friend thats highly implied to be the owner of the black cat from the previous story. In the tape the black cat at times seems to turn anatomically to a human (well the sex scenes in particular), but other times returns to being a cat and doing cat things. The couple watch it, think its amazing but also seem kind of disturbed by it (narration notes neither wanted to watch it again). A few days later it turns out the friend is missing, they heard that he has a wife and children so they go to check up on them. When they do so it turns out said wife and children are cats, and it's highly implied they ate the friends corpse. I want to stress my problem isn't simply she wrote something morally wrong (Although in this specific case I can't imagine how you would justify this dreck). If I was squeamish about reading disturbing content I wouldn't be seeking out weirdlit. However if you're going to use these elements in your story there needs to be a reason for them to be here. I don't think either of these stories have anything behind them. I think they're the equivalent of someone yelling "BESTIALITY" in my face and leaving. It's not interesting in any capacity, it just includes these themes for its own sake. It's somewhat concerning on the authors end and mostly boring on mine. I was going to stop here if only the next story wasn't the Title story The Woman With The Flying Head. If there is anything salvageable about this book it should be evident in the story it was named after, it should be the story that represent the collection to its fullest. Well I don't know if it does that as I stopped right after reading that one, but it sure was the worst of the lot, and considering the previous two stories that seem to boil down to the author battling with her desire to want to write about bestiality porn while still maintaining an air of intellectualism that is saying something. In short, the fourth story is about a man repeatedly raping his step-daughter while she sleeps, until one day he kills her out of jealousy. Oh and her head flies at nights and re attached in the mornings. Yeah that's a rough summary but it is a. like 10 pages long so it really isn't that much of an oversimplification and b. frankly doesn't deserve any better. I think the previous ones illustrate the problems I had with the book well enough, this was all that again, but worse. Anyway, for some short weirdfic collections that doesn't stoop to this level Year's Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 2 Dreams from the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecraftian Horror The Ape's Wife and Other Stories All of these have stories that are much more well written and meaningful. And when they get creepy and approach a disturbing subject matter, they do not do it in the spirit of an 13 year old doing their best to cram in as many taboo topics as they can to prove they're mature.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sagahigan

    Kurahashi Yumiko, một nhà văn với năng lực trí tuệ sâu xa - như lời giới thiệu trên đây nói - và tư chất tinh tế, cao nhã. Có lẽ chính bởi chất trí tuệ sâu xa ấy - khiến cho tác phẩm của bà có một sự "khó" đặc trưng -, và bởi Kurahashi dứt khoát không phải típ nhà văn thuần hiện thực hoặc "dấn thân" theo cách này hay cách khác, nên có vẻ như bà không được biết đến nhiều so với Oe Kenzaburo, Mishima Yukio, Abe Kobo... (đều là các nhà văn ít nhiều cùng độ tuổi). Đồng thời, Kurahashi dứt khoát khôn Kurahashi Yumiko, một nhà văn với năng lực trí tuệ sâu xa - như lời giới thiệu trên đây nói - và tư chất tinh tế, cao nhã. Có lẽ chính bởi chất trí tuệ sâu xa ấy - khiến cho tác phẩm của bà có một sự "khó" đặc trưng -, và bởi Kurahashi dứt khoát không phải típ nhà văn thuần hiện thực hoặc "dấn thân" theo cách này hay cách khác, nên có vẻ như bà không được biết đến nhiều so với Oe Kenzaburo, Mishima Yukio, Abe Kobo... (đều là các nhà văn ít nhiều cùng độ tuổi). Đồng thời, Kurahashi dứt khoát không phải típ nhà văn nữ có thể tạo ra những "mania" kiểu như Banana Yoshimoto hay Amy Yamada - cái "chất" của bà khác xa. Bà không phải nhà văn "nữ" hiểu theo nghĩa hẹp (và cạn cợt) của từ này. Mặt khác, đọc Kurahashi, không thể không cảm thấy thiếu một cái gì đó. Giống như cảm giác khi đọc Borges. Trong tác phẩm của những tác gia như thế, ta nghe rõ mồn một âm thanh của các dòng chảy tư duy, song tiếng chảy của máu trong huyết quản thì không. Nói cụ thể hơn: Ở các tác giả/tác phẩm như thế này, cái khiến chúng ta bận tâm, cái thu hút tâm trí chúng ta là "số phận" của các ý tưởng, chứ không phải số phận của các cá nhân. Ở một tác phẩm tuyệt bích và một tác gia thật sự vĩ đại thì không có sự phân biệt giữa hai cái đó.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    This was an odd collection of stories. They were largely well-constructed, but I didn't love them--I suspect I would have liked them better if I had a better understanding of the mid-twentieth-century Japanese cultural context in which they were written. I was also largely not enthused by the erotic dimension of several of the stories--"The Extraterrestrial", "We Are Lovers", "House of the Black Cat". I did really enjoy "The Trade", "The Long Passage of Dreams", and "Spring Night Dreams" all of This was an odd collection of stories. They were largely well-constructed, but I didn't love them--I suspect I would have liked them better if I had a better understanding of the mid-twentieth-century Japanese cultural context in which they were written. I was also largely not enthused by the erotic dimension of several of the stories--"The Extraterrestrial", "We Are Lovers", "House of the Black Cat". I did really enjoy "The Trade", "The Long Passage of Dreams", and "Spring Night Dreams" all of which drew on Japanese theater and folklore in interesting ways that I would have appreciated more if I was more familiar with that material. The stories were strange and filled with science fiction and fantastical elements, some of which worked better for me than others--I usually liked witches and demons; I usually didn't like many of the other features (although several of those were tied up in some of the more disturbing stories). The prose was good, fluid, lucid, and readable, but of course, it's a work in translation, so I can't really say much about the prose itself as I don't know which qualities are features of the original text and which are features of the translation. I would recommend that you find something else by the author to determine what you like before reading this book--if you can get ahold of a story or two, that would probably be best.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Yumiko Kurahashi's book of surreal stories is a most unusual read. While drawing upon centuries of Japanese mythology, literature, and Noh theater, she manages to create a contemporary (or timeless) feel in her work. For me, the most compelling story was the last (and the longest), "The Long Passage of Dreams." Here she was able to intertwine and develop not only her interest in Japanese culture and dreams but the psychological aspects around death and dying, love and lovelessness, and the strug Yumiko Kurahashi's book of surreal stories is a most unusual read. While drawing upon centuries of Japanese mythology, literature, and Noh theater, she manages to create a contemporary (or timeless) feel in her work. For me, the most compelling story was the last (and the longest), "The Long Passage of Dreams." Here she was able to intertwine and develop not only her interest in Japanese culture and dreams but the psychological aspects around death and dying, love and lovelessness, and the struggle for self in a conflictual family. I would like to read some more of Kurahashi's fiction, particularly Cruel Fairy Tales for Adults and The Passage of Dreams.

  6. 5 out of 5

    H.

    It's rare that people want to hear about others' dreams any more than they tolerate name-dropping. This collection of short stories by Kurahashi mixes and matches interesting themes of feminine sexuality, demons and spirituality, masks and personal identity, but woven into the frames of dreams and around the corners of all too oft-quoted Noh and Greek theater. By the end it is thoroughly boring to read yet another pointless story where some character sexually encounters the spirit world and comp It's rare that people want to hear about others' dreams any more than they tolerate name-dropping. This collection of short stories by Kurahashi mixes and matches interesting themes of feminine sexuality, demons and spirituality, masks and personal identity, but woven into the frames of dreams and around the corners of all too oft-quoted Noh and Greek theater. By the end it is thoroughly boring to read yet another pointless story where some character sexually encounters the spirit world and compares incomprehensible decisions and occurrences to pretentiously-quoted theater and literature.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I've yet to meet someone else who's read this, it's hard to get ahold of. However, I wish it were more well known by fans of authors such as Angela Carter or Kelly Link. I've yet to meet someone else who's read this, it's hard to get ahold of. However, I wish it were more well known by fans of authors such as Angela Carter or Kelly Link.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lanny

    this has an uncanny description of a black cat coming out of the shadow to arch its back like a greek omega symbol, and throws in the actual character. I like little things like that immensely.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This was an extremely odd collection, and certainly not to everyone’s taste. Cw for bestiality and incest-I felt like the first few stories were unnecessarily provocative and somewhat lacking in artistic merit, given the subject matter. I couldn’t help comparing it unfavourably to Taeko Kono’s Toddler Hunting, which I also read this year, and also contained extreme subject matter. Perhaps I’m being too harsh as Toddler Hunting made such a profound impression on me! The latter had some profound e This was an extremely odd collection, and certainly not to everyone’s taste. Cw for bestiality and incest-I felt like the first few stories were unnecessarily provocative and somewhat lacking in artistic merit, given the subject matter. I couldn’t help comparing it unfavourably to Taeko Kono’s Toddler Hunting, which I also read this year, and also contained extreme subject matter. Perhaps I’m being too harsh as Toddler Hunting made such a profound impression on me! The latter had some profound explorations of female sexuality, and the masochism underlying those stories was coiled and simmering. My favourite story was The Long Passage of Dreams, by far the longest in this collection. The supernatural elements were less prominent here; to its strength- this was a rather lovely meditation on a father’s slow dying by his daughter, and the last pages were uncharacteristically optimistic and soft. I just feel like my own lack of knowledge of Classical Japanese literature and Noh theatre may have prevented truly appreciating the depth of this story, which is a shame. Still- it’s been a pleasure to read some older Japanese fiction by female authors, who certainly aren’t read enough by contemporary English-speaking audiences.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Brian

    My favorite story was the first. Although the stories had a tendency to repeat themselves, each story a little less special than the last, I was still interested by the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sae-chan

    My oh my oh my. This is definitely more than expected. Surreal yet real.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Phakin

    These stories are one of the most exquisite Japanese's works I've ever read! These stories are one of the most exquisite Japanese's works I've ever read!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mandy E

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Grant

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mrfromage

  16. 5 out of 5

    Megan

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ralph

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jack

  19. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Walden

  20. 4 out of 5

    Olivia Catullo

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lauren Perez

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ross Scott-Buccleuch

  23. 4 out of 5

    James

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Dawn Drenning

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ky

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lakis Fourouklas

  27. 4 out of 5

    E.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joel Kibbe

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ash

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.