I know what you’re thinking:
Isn’t she due to write a bunch of reviews?
…and notable quotables?
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Gone With the Wind have been on her currently reading list for forever. Isn’t she going to finish them?
Maybe she’s just going through the roughest part of the semester?
Isn’t she doing BookBlogWriMo? Isn’t that a bad desicion considering all this?
The answer to these are all the same: YES. (Oh, you don’t ask the same questions as I do when I consider how busy November is?)
Point is, I really should not be wasting time on a post like this. My problem? I need to vent.
I recently finished Larissa Lai’s Salt Fish Girl and am now reading Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child, and if these two books have anything in common, it’s that their plot lines are pretentious, quirky, hipster and metaphorical.
And I am sick of it.
These novels are seriously testing my ability to suspend my disbelief. I’m usually pretty good at it, considering that I’ve been reading for a long time. So testing my ability to do that is astonishing.
But let’s see how well you’d do. Let me paint you a picture. Girl wants to go to go see an eclipse. Girl asks friends, but they are busy. Girl decides to go alone. Girl runs across strange girl who is beautiful and wants to see eclipse too. Strange girl takes her to airfield to watch eclipse. Strange girl suggests they strip. Girl agrees. Strange girl suggests they wrestle. Girl agrees. Strange girl and girl have odd pseudo sex. Four months later, girl believes she is pregnant.
That escalated quickly, no?
That’s the premise of Kappa Child. Add that to the fact that Girl (i.e. the protagonist) is insecure about herself, has a job collecting abandoned shopping carts, drives a milk van, and wears pajamas 24/7 as opposed to regular clothing, and you’ve got the ultimate test of my suspension of disbelief.
Now let’s look at Salt Fish Girl. A goddess decides to become human because she is lonely. She fakes her death so she can run away with her girlfriend, the salt fish girl. She then abandons her girlfriend, when said girlfriend is sick, and runs off with another girl to the island of mist and forgetfulness. Another girl gives goddess-turned-human ability to speak in the native tongue of the island at the expense of goddess-turned-human’s native tongue. Goddess-turned-human leaves island. Goddess-turned-human then returns home to find salt fish girl, only to find her 50 years older and unable to understand her.
What am I supposed to make of that? How did it happen? Why did she leave?
My major problem with these books, however, isn’t even this messed up plot line. It’s how they then leave everything unanswered and then leave it to interpretation. And while I like trying to puzzle out and interpret books, I’m not happy with how static the characters are about these things. Despite the mistakes that goddess-turned-human makes, she keeps on making them. How am I, the reader, supposed to take anything from the book if the book itself doesn’t have the characters face the lesson it’s trying to teach?
And these aren’t the only scenes like this. There are glass cages underwater, fertility inducing durian-fruit, reincarnation, Japanese cucumber addictions, backstories reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie, runaway sisters…and nothing is explained or even touched upon again. No reason. No reflection. No discussion.
It’s like the author handed me a bunch of random ingredients that I’ve never seen before and said, “Here, make <insert name of dish I don’t know>.” They literally write scenes, and then leave me hanging, as if tauntingly asking, “What do you think?”
Well, author, what do YOU think? It is your novel after all. I’d like to know what you’re thinking.