کتاب دروازه راشومون

اثر آی. جی. پارکر از انتشارات قطره - مترجم: سمیرامیس بابایی-ادبیات آلمان

From the author of The Dragon Scroll comes an ingenious new novel of murder and malfeasance in ancient Japan, featuring the detective Sugawara Akitada. The son of reduced nobility forced to toil in the Ministry of Justice, Akitada is relieved when an old friend, Professor Hirata, asks him to investigate a friend’s blackmail. Taking a post at the Imperial University, he is soon sidetracked from his primary case by the murder of a young girl and the mysterious disappearance of an old man—a disappearance that the Emperor himself declares a miracle. Rashomon Gate is a mystery of magnificent complexity and historical detail that will leave readers yearning for more.

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Saya suka buku ini!

Sebernarnya berharap nemuin buku yang menceritakan samurai, martial art, bushido ataupun tentang kisah - kisah heroik. Tapi ternyata ini lebih tepat sebagai kisah detektif dengan latar belakang sejarah Jepang. Tepatnya ketika Heian Era, ini adalah masa feudal Jepang yang lebih lampau dari masa - masa samurai atapun para shogun ada. Saya suka background dan detil - detil tentang masa itu, tentang kehidupan masyarakatnya, para petani, pengrajin, pengemis, pedagang dan bangsawan. Bagaimana kondisi sosial ekonomi Jepang tertutama di Ibukotanya Heian-Kyo (Kyoto). Kalau pernah nonton film Onmyoji itu saya rasa gambaran yang lebih tepat untuk covernya :p

Ceritanya sendiri tentang pemerasan, pembunuhan yang terjadi di Ibukota termasuk misteri hilangnya Pangeran Yoakira. Sugawara Akitada seorang pegawai di Departemen Kahakiman, ia seorang yang cerdas dan suka memecahkan teka - teki. Ia dibantu oleh dua orang pelayannya Seime dan Tora. Seime seorang pelayan tua yang telah lama bekerja pada keluarga Sugawara sedangkan Tora adalah seorang mantan perampok yang pernah ditolongnya dalam kasus sebelumnya (maaf kalau salah, karena saya belum baca novel sebelumnya hehe). Ini berawal dari permintaan tolong mantan gurunnya Hirata untuk menyelidiki sebuah surat kaleng yang berisi ancaman. Sebuah petunjuk awal bagi kasus pemerasan, penipuan dan pengaturan ujian di Universitas. Ini diperparah dengan kasus pembunuhan yang terjadi berikutnya yang menimpa seorang wanita penghibur bernama Omaki dan seorang Profesor Literatur Cina bernama Oe.

Penulisnya berhasil paling tidak memberikan gambaran yang menarik tentang Jepang era itu. Pada era itu belum kita jumpai samurai, geisha, segala jenis martial-art seperti karate atau jiu-jitsu. Bahkan meminum teh belum menjadi tradisi bagi masyarakat ketika itu, hanya ada sake dan martial-art yang ada mungkin merupakan bagian dari militer seperti memanah, seni berpedang dan bo-jutsu sejenis seni beladiri menggunakan tongkat (lebih jauh tentang ini bisa dicari di wikipedia). Tapi seperti saya tuliskan ini bukan novel @martial [email protected], lebih menyerupai sebuah cerita - cerita detektif dengan setting era Feudal Jepang.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
This innovative mystery is set in 11th Century Japan in Kyo (modern day Kyoto). Sugawara Akitada is a low ranking nobleman who works as a clerk in the Ministry of Justice. His mother is constantly nagging him to better himself.

Akitada receives a message from his former law professor at Imperial University who has found a note indicating someone on the faculty is being blackmailed. He doesnt want the University to suffer from this humiliation so asks Akitada to quietly investigate. Its not long before Akitada is involved in not only the blackmail, but two murders. He also becomes interested in one of his young students whose grandfather died under mysterious circumstances. Fortunately Akitada wont have to do all this investigation on his own. His servant, Tora, a former highwayman has significant role in solving these crimes. What an interesting character. Akitada is also very interesting and this book paints a wonderfully expressive picture of medieval Japan and the precise social order that governs everyday life.

This book is both a mystery and a historical novel. It encompasses Japanese culture, history, religion and superstition. Sometime the writing seems a little too modern but I appreciated that it made the story highly readable. I felt the plot developed a little slowly but once I got about a third of the way I was flying through it.

This is listed as the first of the Akitada mysteries, however there is previous one called Dragon Scroll where we are introduced to Akitada and learn how he and Tora become companions. I loved the scalawag Tora and plan to read that one sometime in the future. I dont feel I lost anything by reading out of order as Rashomon Gate can certainly stand on its own.

Note: If anyone has a Kindle and belongs to Amazon Prime, this book is available to read for free in the Kindle Owners Lending Library.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
A reasonably engaging read. The plot and characters werent superb, and the ending a little too fairy-tale for my tastes (although I would imagine that that will bring new sets of problems in sequels), but I found I coped well with the sometime jarring between prose style and subject and setting. There were other moments when I though that the author crafted some nicely oblique conservations between characters that showed a decent understanding of what I know of Japanese cultural mores.

My main unresolved quibble actually pertains to the relationships between characters of different classes and statuses. It could be that Sugawara Akitada is incredibly easy going and treats his staff accordingly, or that there is some basis in relevant historical texts for such relationships existing that I am unaware of, or that there were just some mistakes. Not sure there, and will have to do some more reading of my own. However, I assume and hope that the author had research or reasons for some of the odder conversations and actions.

Suicide by hanging for a member of the nobility also seemed a little unusual. As far as my limited grasp of medieval Japanese history goes, suicide was not an unheard of option in the Heian, and I believe that the ritual of seppuku that automatically springs to mind when we think of it today was still some years off; but hanging still struck me as a surprisingly public and ignominious exit for a palace official to take. Throwing ones self into a river or the ocean would have seemed to be a more appropriate way to commit suicide given the context, but its a very minor quibble.

Even with my lingering questions about historical and cultural accuracy and dubiousness about the ending it was a pleasant surprise when randomly from the library. Ill have to track down the others now.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
For those of you who also follow my father on Goodreads, you may have noticed a slight change in his reading in recent months. Well, now you need to be prepared for a change in mine as we have undertaken the great Hamlett book swap! This only amounts to each of us giving the other five books to read but is the result of a long-standing difference of opinion as to what constitutes a good read. So, I introduced him to Paul Auster, Cormac Macarthys The Road, a novel about superstring theory and all sorts of other wonderfulness (hardly any of which he liked). In return, I have been given science fiction, alternate realities and historical fiction to enjoy. And this - detective fiction set in 11th century Japan - is the first.

Papa - I love you. This book - I didnt like.

Aside from the rubbish plot - which tried to make up for its lack of depth by ever-increasing numbers of threads, none of them interesting - about which I couldnt have given two hoots, there was clunky use of language, inconsistency in the narrative and a ridiculous recurring tic in the central character (the pulling of an earlobe) which was unnecessary, distracting and just plain weird.

If you want to read a book set in Japan, read Murakami. If you want to read detective fiction, read PD James. Dont waste your time on this.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
Sugawara Akitada receives a request from his old friend and temporarily leaves his position at the Ministry of Justice to take a temporary position teaching at the university. His old friend has stumbled upon evidence that someone is blackmailing a member of the faculty. As that mystery unfolds he becomes involved in the murder of a young musician, who might be involved with someone at the university, and the problem of what might, or might not, be the miraculous disappearance of a nobleman.

The characters are believable and the environment of Heian Japan is well depicted. Akitada was banished from his abusive family as a young teen, so he has a somewhat critical view of Japanese society around him. This provides a bridge to what might otherwise be an inaccessible culture -- and sometimes provides some humor.

Aside from solving the three main criminal mysteries in the book, there is a sub-plot concerning Akitadas family and his personal growth that adds to the closure at the end of the novel.

This is the second book in the series that Ive read. I read both @out of chronological [email protected] and I dont think Ive missed much.

Recommended -- especially if youre a fan of the Judge Dee stories set in Tang dynasty China.

مشاهده لینک اصلی
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