Sunday, May 12, 2013

"The Edogawa Rampo Reader"

I feel like i have been waiting for this book for all of my life.  it has been a slow amount of time to get the Japanese writer Edogawa Rampo translated into English.  One of his collections of short stories have been in print for so many years - yet waiting for another title seemed endless.  Now we have at least three other books by Rampo, and I bought them all this year.

"The Edogawa Rampo Reader" is a much needed over-all look of his career.  The first half of this book is short stories and the second half are essays -mostly regarding the nature of the 'detective' story.  i only found one essay the most interesting and that's "The Horror Of Films" dealing with the nature and history of cinema.  It's a great piece on what was then a new medium.  He wrote it in 1926, and for a short essay it covers a lot of ground.  Basically all to do with being the viewer.

The short stories are all in the creepy mode that I love about Rampo's work.  It includes the story about a man who spends a lot of time in the attic where he spies on people down below, and also commits a murder.  The long introduction by Seth Jacobowitz is pretty perfect in capturing what is so essential about Rampo, his times, and the work itself.   A remarkable writer.
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