Review: Terminal Boredom

Hi and welcome to the reading world!

Today, I’m excited to be sharing a review of a book I recently read as part of my TBR for Women in Translation Month! August is Women in Translation Month and there are plenty of exciting readathons and opportunities to explore more reads written by women and translated!

Today’s review is on Terminal Boredom by Izumi Suzuki and translated by Polly Barton, Sam Bett, David Boyd, Daniel Joseph, Aiko Masubuchi, and Helen O’Horan.

This is a short story collection by an author who is very well known in Japan. Each of her short stories in this collection was translated by a different translator, which I also think is a really unique and interesting way to bring this collection into translation.

Terminal Boredom’s stories have sci-fi elements to them in different and unique ways and utilize these elements and character dynamics to explore themes of humanity, aging, life, and identity. Although the collection was only recently made available in English, her stories were originally published in Japanese several decades ago. It’s really amazing to see that Suzuki’s sci fi elements still feel modern and futuristic after so much time- many of these stories remind me of when my friends would describe the concept of Black Mirror.

As with any short story collection for me, there are stories I really liked and some that didn’t work as well for me. My favorite stories of Terminal Boredom were Night Picnic and That Old Seaside Club and while I didn’t entirely dislike any of the others, I wouldn’t say they were particular favorites either.

Overall, I think this is a unique sci fi short story collection that makes a lot of observations about human interactions and identities through new settings or technological innovations. Despite her stories originally being published in Japan in the 1970s and 1980s, the sci fi elements still feel futuristic and are oftentimes still seen in modern speculative fiction. While none of the stories were new all time favorites of mine, I did really enjoy the exploration of themes done through a sci fi medium and I would definitely pick up another work by this author!

I hope this month continues to be a celebration of women writing across the world and translators helping to connect readers to stories from languages and places we may not have otherwise, and I’m excited to continue to read more translated fiction by women authors in the months to come too!

What women in translation reads have you picked up this month? Thank you for stopping by!


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