Monday, January 12, 2015

Tales Of Moonlight And Rain


Tales Of Moonlight And Rain is a collection of nine gothic tales published in 1776. It is celebrated as some of Japan's finest examples of literature of the occult. Mysterious things occur in these tales, usually in the form of a vengeful ghost. There are also demons, possession, goblins, dreams, and more. Although full of supernatural elements, the tales are not simply tales of horror. They merge the world of reality and spirit with intriguing outcomes.

One of my book clubs has a challenge every year where members vote on a country to read books by authors from that country, about people from that country, or events that country was involved in. Each person decides how many books they will read in the specified time frame. This year, the country chosen was Japan. This is one of the books I read for that challenge. It sounded interesting, and I was not disappointed. I greatly enjoyed this collection of tales. I think my favourite story was The Carp Of My Dreams. I liked how the story flowed. You can easily imagine yourself in this story. It has a supernatural element, but is definitely not a horror story. I also liked A Serpent Lust. A serpent demon disguises itself as a beautiful woman bringing trouble to a fisherman's son. It was a interesting tale, and I wanted to see if Toyoo would figure out the woman was a demon, and if he would be able to escape the demon.

There is an introduction to the book and before each tale that are both very informative. I appreciated this, as I have a lot to learn about Japanese culture and history. The introductions to both the book and each tale contains spoilers, so if you want to avoid key elements being given away, I suggest reading the story first and going back to the introductions afterwards.

This is a collection of beautifully written tales. I think the tales are an interesting view of humanity. It is not simply about a ghost wreaking havoc, there is a reason why the ghost is haunting a person. The tales show the misery and joy of being human. They are more unsettling than horrific tales. They give an interesting perspective on history and religion.

If you are interested in classic stories, I recommend reading this book.

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