Books

[Review] The End of the Moment We Had by Toshiki Okada

3 Things About This Book
| Two Short Stories | Searching for Meaning to Their Life / Connection to Tether Them to the World | Metaphorical but Shallow |


The End of the Moment We Had by Toshiki Okada
Published: 2018 by Pushkin Press
Genre(s): Asian Literature, Contemporary, Short Story
Pages:
122
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781782274162
Goodreads
Amazon
Book Depository
Kinokuniya


Written by Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada, The End of the Moment We Had contains two short stories written in a stream-of-consciousness format. Both revolve around the characters’ search for a meaning to their existencefor a connection to tie them to the world.

The first short story is a rework of his play Five Days in March, fittingly renamed The End of the Moment We Had. It mainly follows a man and a woman who spends five days in a love hotel, living momentarily in a bubble to escape from the reality in which the Iraq War is starting. There, they form a trivial-not-trivial relationship where they know more about each other than strangers do yet lesser as well as they don’t know the other’s name. Truthfully, there’s nothing new about this story as the idea of strangers connecting with each other through sex only to part ways after can be found in many other stories.

The second, My Places in Plural, is an earlier piece that’s also known as Our Many Places. In this short story, we read the thoughts of a wife dissatisfied with her husband as he doesn’t understand her wants and needs, despite having all that’s needed in life (though, I don’t know about you but I think she just needs to learn to patiently and clearly communicate with her husband instead of just talking and expecting him to read her mind. A relationship is a two-way street and no one’s a mind reader). The state of her mind is reflected by the state of their home—gradually, increasingly dilapidated. Again, there’s nothing new here, but it does provide a little insight to the life of a typical married couple in Japan.

Both stories offer no resolution. They are simply moments in life, meandering, less-positive thoughts that any person in reality could have. I had hoped for deeper observations, for more subtle nuances but there were little to none. The metaphors here lacked depth and consequently, power too. In overall, The End of the Moment We Had was a benumbing read for me.


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