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This 30-Second Scene in “Tales from the Loop” Absolutely Ruined Me

Surprisingly enough, it’s my mom who suggests we watch Amazon’s latest output Tales from the Loop. I never pegged her as the surreal science fiction show type, so I’ll admit to sitting down with some trepidation. (Then again, she’s a fan of Snowpiercer, so perhaps I should have given her some more credit). What I certainly didn’t expect was to go to bed that night a silent, sobbing mess, all because of one relatively minor scene.

Most shows featuring a mother-daughter dynamic, however briefly, are either hit or miss with me (looking at you, Gilmore Girls, the indulgence-turned-bane of my teenage years), but I could already tell I’m going to be emotionally compromised by Loretta. Her quiet, almost resigned demeanor in the face of Alma’s obvious reticence as a mother was hard to watch. I didn’t expect my childhood to rear its head and gut me during the first episode, but young Loretta got to me.

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Pearl Reviews: Innocence and Otherwordly Mystery Abound in Susanna Clarke’s “Piranesi”

I didn’t expect to give another 5-pearl rating to a book so soon, but Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi made me ~feel things~ and was overall a wonderful escapist read, perfect for the times we are currently in. Piranesi is both a love letter to the gift of fascination and an exquisite, heartfelt study of labyrinths, physical and internal. It put me in mind David Mitchell’s otherwordly (pun intended) Slade House, and manages to maintain an innocence and hope throughout that is rare to come across these days.

“Piranesi” by Susanna Clarke, published by Bloomsbury Publishing
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Pearl Reviews: Lovecraft Meets Crimson Peak in Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s “Mexican Gothic”

I’m just going to come right out and say it: I absolutely loved this book. I needed a spooky new read for October, and horror novel Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia delivered in spades. It’s got your typical Lovecraft weirdness (albeit with a headstrong female protagonist), the haunting ambiance of Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, and the fury and anxiety of Darren Aronofsky’s allegorical film Mother! It’s no exaggeration when I say I devoured this book; I huddled under my bed covers well into the night and early morning blazing through this novel. I read the ending at least five times. I haven’t enjoyed a book so much in months. It was the perfect respite from, well…*gestures to everything.*

There will be a couple descriptions ahead that might fall into the spoiler category, but if that doesn’t bother you, keep on reading!

“Mexican Gothic” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, published by Del Rey Books
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Pearl Reviews: Mieko Kawakami’s Phenomenal “Breasts and Eggs”

One of Japan’s rising stars in the literary world is singer-turned-writer Mieko Kawakami. Winner of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize and numerous other awards, Kawakami’s latest work translated into English Breasts and Eggs was receiving acclaim long before its release. After an agonizing wait, I finally got my hands on a electronic copy through my local library. Without further ado, here are my thoughts on this phenomenal novel.

“Breasts and Eggs” by Mieko Kawakami, translated by Sam Bett & David Boyd, published by Europa Editions
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Pearl Reviews: Loss and Memory in Yoko Ogawa’s “The Memory Police”

What remains after a memory is lost? Is it better to live without memories, or exist alone with all the memories everyone around you has lost? How do you live when objects, once precious or necessary, no longer hold any meaning for you? Yoko Ogawa’s The Memory Police asks all these questions and more. Masterfully translated by Stephen Snyder, Ogawa’s novel was a finalist for the International Booker Prize and the National Book Award, and rightfully so. It’s a perfect blend of Orwellian subterfuge and fantastical, almost fairy-tale elegy.

“The Memory Police” by Yoko Ogawa, translated by Stephen Snyder, published by Pantheon Books
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Pearl Reviews: The Strangeness of Hiromi Kawakami’s “Strange Weather in Tokyo”

Hi all,

I haven’t been writing much fiction or poetry lately (shocker). Pandemic life has further deepened my writing drought. I have been reading a lot, however, and was struck with the scathingly brilliant idea to start writing book reviews.

I’ll be mostly reviewing Japanese literature — I don’t have a B.A. in Japanese Studies just for shits and giggles — but I might move away from that niche if I find a particularly gush-worthy read.

Fair warning: I am absolutely shit at summarizing stories, so if you’re looking for a pitch-perfect synopsis, it’ll be a while before I develop that talent.

Anyways, these reviews/impressions/rambles probably won’t be too in-depth at first, but I’m hoping to develop a knack for dissecting the meat of a book objectively enough without spoiling it for everybody. (See how terrible that metaphor was? This is why I don’t share my writing anymore.)

For this first installment of Pearl Reviews, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Hiromi Kawakami‘s novel Strange Weather in Tokyo, translated by Allison Markin Powell and published by Counterpoint Press. This came out a few years ago, so I’m very much late to the party, but considering my TBR list is over 1000 books, I’m lucky I was able to get to it at all.

A woman in red dress floating by dining tables in a supermarket.
“Strange Weather in Tokyo” by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Allison Markin Powell, published by Counterpoint Press
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