Review – Penguin Highway

ペンギン・ハイウェイ by Tomihiko Morimi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Penguin Highway

This is a coming of age novel, a story of children facing reality bending mystery, and lots of talk about boobs.

Akireta Aoyama is a young boy with an analytical mind and an obsession with breasts. Not exactly in a prurient way, but in the confused way of a young boy on the cusp of puberty who knows he’s interested, but not exactly why.

One day, his small Japanese town is set abuzz by the sudden appearance of penguins… And that is only the beginning of the weirdness.

I read this novel as a bit of exploration of Japanese SF, and I fear it did little to deepen my understanding of the first. This is a shallow, wide ranging look at all kinds of things: friendship, death, reality, love and so on. The topics can be heady, but they’re all destiny with by children, so nothing goes very far-topics are touched on, then left to wander as the children go about their adventures.

The climax mixes utter predictability (there is very heavy foreshadowing of a certain event) and utter nonsense in a vaguely unsatisfying way. The characters are memorable and enjoyable, though, and there is enough going on to keep interest going.

But in the end, this felt like a pretty rote “kids in small Japanese town have weird adventures and grow up a little” kind of story, complete with Summer festival yukatas and the bully who ends up helping the heroes when they need it.



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日本酒が大好きです

趣味はたくさんありますが、最近ハマってるのは日本酒です。

特に山口県の日本酒に興味があります。以前は獺祭を呑んでいましたが獺祭以外にも美味しい山口県地酒がたくさんあります。五橋はもちろん、「下関酒造」の海峡や「はつももぢ酒造」さんの原田等、沢山あります。

実は英語版ブログでも地酒を紹介しています。英語が得意な方は覗いてみてください!

URLは www.easternsmooth.com です。