The hate fills you with spite
the heart is a barren desert
the mind is a desiccated tree
basked in the heat of hate;
There’s a cat who walks
by himself by the proud tree
and his eyes full of memories
that once beheld the leaves
dancing in the breeze of peace;
He catches in silence at the sight
by the awe of the forlorn fate
that wails into a void of ether
and continues on his wander
into the end of distant rainbows
bridging over the skies yonder.
What seems abnormal may be normal to you. Seeing dead people may not be the most pleasant talent, but if that’s what you are born with, then it’s normal, and you have to live with it through Kubla-Ross’s famous five stages of dying. That happens to Jamie in his narrative of the coming-of-age proclamation of his identity in this story.
Dead people are like quiet people lurking in the background of Jamie’s life. They appear to him as the last moments of their earthly lives, talking and joking to Jamie, who can see and hear them, albeit rather unreluctantly, because he’s not much pleased with his uncanny ability. But then it’s the discerning talent -says the Bible – that helps him know who he is, like an epiphany of a family secret locked in his uncle’s lost memories, thanks to nature’s force of dementia. However, this story is not so much a psychological thriller as a supernatural drama that is so characteristic of Stephen King’s novels, with a level of uncanniness combined with realism that makes his stories all the more real and relatable. The settings, the dialogues, and the jobs the characters have are not far-fetched, fanciful, or bourgeoisie, all of which attest to King’s engagingly realistic storytelling skills.
Later is a three-fold story of horror without goriness, mystery without glamour, and bildungsroman without teenage angst. King has a unique knack for incorporating popular entertainment with serious literature that attracts readers of all generations and classes. He is a literary descendant of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Washington Irving, and Edgar Allen Poe, who defined American literature in the constellation of the World’s Literature for the joy of the beholders from generation to generation. All in all, this book will be one of the stars in the constellation.
Idol, Burning by Rin Usami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
We are such starstuff made of fire, spirit, and dew that we are instantly drawn to stars that sparkle and shine. And what do we call the beautiful star (and young, of course) that sings, dances, and acts even? If we call it a singer, it is also an idol. Akari calls it Masaki, puts him in the constellation of super idols and worships him like an Apollo to whom she gives meaning to her life as if he were her lighthouse on the dark ocean. He is her God, the Idol, and the Guiding Light of her lonely life. Then what?
Masaki is a member of a boy band called Mama Maza, which feeds on the cult devotion reminiscent of Dionysus accompanying the Maenads sans frenzied ritual of animal-human ripping of fleshes. Akari is something of the high priestess of the cult, running fan blogs filled with tributes to the exalted, glorified awesomeness of her Idol. Her life is centered on, evolved around the solar system of Masaki, and everything she is about, all the things she does about, is because of him. So imagine what is it like when her God becomes mortal full of human frailty, fallen from the constellation of the stars? An emotional vacuum is soon filled in her heart, leaving her lost in the direction of life, wandering about, wondering about the sense of purpose in life ahead. Her sense of void in life with the declination of Masaki from stardom illustrates the existential dilemma that struggles to find a new objective in her life in which the meaning of life depends on achieving the goals in daily tasks, which were to follow any updates on her figure of love, the source of her life energy.
Of course, the love of one’s favorite entertainer is not to be criticized. Beatlemania was not a hysterical totalitarianism but a collective popularism that entrained the ears and minds of people. The gist of this book echoes what Marcel Proust advised: “Never meet the people you admire. You’ll be disappointed.” There’s a reason for it.
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