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Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination

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Collected in this chilling volume are some of the famous Japanese mystery writer Edogawa Rampo's best stories—bizarre and blood-curdling expeditions into the fantastic, the perverse, and the strange, in a marvelous homage to Rampo's literary 'mentor', Edgar Allan Poe.


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Collected in this chilling volume are some of the famous Japanese mystery writer Edogawa Rampo's best stories—bizarre and blood-curdling expeditions into the fantastic, the perverse, and the strange, in a marvelous homage to Rampo's literary 'mentor', Edgar Allan Poe.

30 review for Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bill Kerwin

    Edogowa Rampo--just say his pen name quickly three times to discover how much he loved Edgar Allen Poe--is considered the first and foremost writer of Japanese mystery fiction. He is also much more. His stories, structured as popular "entertainments," are designed to convey all the pleasures of genre, and yet they possess an elegance and intellectual complexity greater than mere popular works. In this Rampo resembles Borges, and yet the two writers are very different. Borges is more philosophica Edogowa Rampo--just say his pen name quickly three times to discover how much he loved Edgar Allen Poe--is considered the first and foremost writer of Japanese mystery fiction. He is also much more. His stories, structured as popular "entertainments," are designed to convey all the pleasures of genre, and yet they possess an elegance and intellectual complexity greater than mere popular works. In this Rampo resembles Borges, and yet the two writers are very different. Borges is more philosophical, Rampo more psychological; Borges teems with puzzle and paradox, Rampo with obsession and ratiocination, and yet each celebrates man's inventiveness while still being woefully aware of his limitations. Indeed, I think Rampo's stories may be equal to Borges--which is a high compliment indeed--but I cannot be sure, for this translation often lacks the verbal elegance that would best communicate the formal beauty of these tales and give them the extra polish a first class work requires. All the nine tales here are very good, and "The Caterpillar," "The Hell of Mirrors," The Red Chamber" and "The Traveler with the Pasted Rag Picture" are excellent, but I must single out "The Human Chair" for special mention. It is one of the most memorable pieces of short fiction I have ever read, containing an extraordinary first-person monologue which is pathetic, disgusting and horrifying at the same time. Read it if you read nothing else of Rampo's. But I bet you won't stop there.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    I’m glad I finally read this collection, since, as with Edgar Allen Poe for American literature readers, only moreso, these tales are universally familiar to Japanese readers. The tales themselves? Fine, but none of the stories were special or memorable. All were well-written and reminiscent of Algernon Blackwell in style.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mariel

    The perfect murder. Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination, or, as it should have been called, How to do the bloody deed and get away with it without facing criminal charges or the accusing finger of society (the bird, probably). No civil suits, no karmic payback! No coming back as a roach in the next life, that's right. It's essentially the same perfect murder in a lot of the stories. The getting away with it the appeal rather than the murder (wouldn't anything else work just as well?). It The perfect murder. Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination, or, as it should have been called, How to do the bloody deed and get away with it without facing criminal charges or the accusing finger of society (the bird, probably). No civil suits, no karmic payback! No coming back as a roach in the next life, that's right. It's essentially the same perfect murder in a lot of the stories. The getting away with it the appeal rather than the murder (wouldn't anything else work just as well?). It's like how all of the long and short cons of today are the same old long and short cons of yesteryear with a few tweaks here and there. Murder is a chili with the right amount of seasonings. The ideal blend is in the next spoonful. If you can live with yourself. If you can live as someone else then you have created the perfect alibi. I was them and they were me. He (Edogawa is not his real name. He was trying to make the authorities think that Edgar Allen Poe was the culprit. Anagrams are so obvious!) tried to kill me. Paper cuts, falling asleep with the book on my face when I had left it on the pillow when I went to sleep. He had plans a, b and all the way through z. It was plan f that nearly did me in. I'm used to breathing through my mouth because I suffer from bad allergies in the spring time. The book on the face didn't work. I don't know if the crafty and craftier Rampo planned this or not. Probably. He comes back more times than Rambo. The pages over my eyes caused the ink to bleed into my eyeballs (I wasn't crying in my sleep. It was the dust that made my tear ducts leak!) and the words eased into my sleeping vision like a pink flashback from Saved by the Bell. The page on my cheek rising and falling with my ragged breath (allergies are a nightmare). Edogawa Rambo took over my subconcious mind. They were not my own feet walking in my dreams. I was Edogawa Rambo's mind corners. The trains of thought went to new worlds and I couldn't really get in because I didn't have the proper papers. I was the human chair man loving the bodies of another, their unknowing flesh to his one sided skin, in his hidden home of voyeurism and secondhand life and love. Touching is being touched. Murder through losing yourself, becoming another person in another's soul windows rather than your own, doing the same to others with your own eyes. See what you want to see. Hear no evil. To relate to the chair man (how could I not, as much as I read?) and then "Hey, did I make you think?" non-sucker punch line. Well, one of us is a sucker. "It's just a story" like people say to deny the sustaining of inner life and death. Murderer! To feel the writer's eyes behind the page would be living as the human chair. Real or not real wasn't the point. That's what sucks about short stories. They end and you can't go any further. It is awful to be killed that way! To lose the voice in the back of my mind that says "Hey! These endings are the opposite of a punch line. I get the feeling he wants to say the true horror is in the desires rather than the action. Nothing happens for good or evil. Fucking impotence. All of the scares are the stuffed and mounted cat in Scooby-Doo episodes and I'm not reading my own mind anymore. Trapped in a purgatory of wicked impulses." It would have been better to feel those desires, rather than be the recipient of them that way of did I make you think? To know how the wife felt the pleasure of torturing her utterly helpless husband. To feel it myself. What's in theory? The best moment was the grim satisfaction in his eyes (his sole expression. He was murdered in voice and body language of love) looking at newspaper articles and medals of war for his "sacrifice". If I knew why the wife enjoyed her power, why the husband enjoyed being a martyr, I would have lived in the story. I could imagine better the sick satisfaction of being harmed because I have spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. "Sacrifice this!" Killed. If one could make someone else have a somnambulistic experience that is how they would do it. Sleepwalking, nightmare walking, daymare walking. All in shoes that are not your own but you don't notice the clown killer shoes are too big for your size eights. That's how you get away with it. You're gonna get caught if you stop to think! If I'm right that Rampo's getting away with it was about the mental hold and free will thing over messy clean-ups. Plan Z he sent my twin to try and take my face. I couldn't tell the difference. Did it work?

  4. 5 out of 5

    Camilo

    Una maravilla, me quedé con ganas de más!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Scarlet Cameo

    Lectura con el grupo 221 b Baker street Esperaba mucho y me supo a poco. -RTC-

  6. 4 out of 5

    El

    Having just finished off The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, I wasn't quite ready to fully return to the world of novels. Luckily this book was recommended for this month's book club read and very perfectly the author's name is a pseudonym, a play on Edgar Allan Poe. Say it out loud: Edogawa Rampo. Get it? These stories are certainly not as gruesome as some of Poe's, and they're certainly not as long as some of Poe's either. But these are good too, in their own right. If nothing else, they're Having just finished off The Science Fiction of Edgar Allan Poe, I wasn't quite ready to fully return to the world of novels. Luckily this book was recommended for this month's book club read and very perfectly the author's name is a pseudonym, a play on Edgar Allan Poe. Say it out loud: Edogawa Rampo. Get it? These stories are certainly not as gruesome as some of Poe's, and they're certainly not as long as some of Poe's either. But these are good too, in their own right. If nothing else, they're a lot of fun to read. I don't know if I've ever read any Japanese short stories, and I know I've never read any Japanese short stories along these lines, so this was a good experience as well. They weren't as creepy as I would have liked - they bordered on sort of simplistic by the time the stories ended, many had convenient endings - not quite "and it was all just a dream" but similar feelings of copping out. But these stories do focus on the duplicity of human nature, the psychology, and occasionally the psychoses. In other words, they weren't too far of a stretch. I could see situations like many of these actually happening. Which is, after all, where the true creepiness comes in. For the book club it was recommended that The Human Chair, The Caterpillar, and The Hell of Mirrors be the three people read for discussion. But I'm an overachiever and read them all because they're short stories and enjoyable to boot. Out of the three suggested for book club, The Human Chair was the most interesting to me, but the others were also good. A note on the translation, from the introduction: Edogawa Rampo, while fully capable of reading and understanding English, lacks the ability to write or speak it. On the other hand, the translator, a Eurasian of English-Japanese parentage, while completely fluent in spoken Japanese, is quite unable to read or write the language, as he was educated solely in English schools. Hence, for each line translated, the two collaborators, meeting once a week for a period of five years, were forced to overcome manifold difficulties in getting every line just right, the author reading each line in Japanese several times and painstakingly explaining the correct meaning and nuance, and the translator sweating over his typewriter having to experiment with sentence after sentence until the author was fully satisfied with what had been set down in English. I love that anecdote. It shows such dedication on both parts to want to bring these stories to a whole new population of readers. I'm sad that these stories aren't better known and more widely read. I don't think it would be inappropriate at all to read a few of these along side of Poe's short stories in schools.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    These different strange and surreal stories reminded me a lot of stories like Dark Water and The Ring - very different and very well-written.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

    Estos son los nueve relatos incluidos en ‘Relatos japoneses de misterio e imaginación’ (traducción de la versión inglesa, Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination, 1956), del escritor japonés Edogawa Rampo, seudónimo de Hirai Taro: La butaca humana. (****) La protagonista, escritora, recibe una extraña y fascinante carta. Gran relato, tanto en su desarrollo como en su final. El test psicológico. (***) Fukiya, un joven estudiante, decide poner a prueba su inteligencia cometiendo el crimen perfecto Estos son los nueve relatos incluidos en ‘Relatos japoneses de misterio e imaginación’ (traducción de la versión inglesa, Japanese Tales of Mystery and Imagination, 1956), del escritor japonés Edogawa Rampo, seudónimo de Hirai Taro: La butaca humana. (****) La protagonista, escritora, recibe una extraña y fascinante carta. Gran relato, tanto en su desarrollo como en su final. El test psicológico. (***) Fukiya, un joven estudiante, decide poner a prueba su inteligencia cometiendo el crimen perfecto. La oruga. (****) Tokiko cuida de su marido gravemente herido en la guerra. Magnífico relato, sobre todo en sus últimos párrafos. El precipicio. (***) Una pareja charla al borde de un precipicio, donde saldrán a relucir oscuros secretos. El infierno de los espejos. (***) El narrador nos habla de la extraña obsesión de su amigo Kan Tanuma por los espejos. Los gemelos. (***) El relato es la confesión de un preso condenado a muerte por asesinato. La cámara roja. (***) Siete sepultureros se reúnen para contar historias. Los dos inválidos. (***) Dos ancianos entablan amistad en una posada, y hablan de la procedencia de sus heridas. El viajero con el cuadro de la figuras de tela. (**) Durante un viaje en tren, dos hombres comparten vagón. Durante la travesía uno de ellos enseña la pintura que lleva, para posteriormente contarle la historia de la misma. En definitiva, el libro me ha gustado, hay misterio e imaginación, como reza el título, aunque esperaba más de ambos. Se nota la influencia de Edgar Allan Poe, pero también la de Stevenson y Hoffmann. Son historias perturbadoras, muy bien escritas (o traducidas), y que dejan con ganas de más.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zak

    Edogawa Rampo is the pen name of Taro Hirai, who is widely regarded as the father of Japanese mystery. It seems he was greatly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, hence the name "Edogawa Rampo". In this collection of short stories, he takes us into the world of the strange and the macabre. Some of the stories are more riveting than others, but the straightforward storytelling makes them all engaging throughout. His stories maintain more a sense of mystery and the bizarre, compared to Poe's which instill Edogawa Rampo is the pen name of Taro Hirai, who is widely regarded as the father of Japanese mystery. It seems he was greatly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, hence the name "Edogawa Rampo". In this collection of short stories, he takes us into the world of the strange and the macabre. Some of the stories are more riveting than others, but the straightforward storytelling makes them all engaging throughout. His stories maintain more a sense of mystery and the bizarre, compared to Poe's which instill more a sense of dread and terror. Based on this book alone, I would liken Rampo more to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, albeit a darker version of him. The best story to me would be 'The Human Chair'. Final rating: 3.8*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Eℓℓis ♥

    Se devo essere sincera ho scoperto dell'esistenza di questo scrittore durante la visione di una puntata dell'anime "Detective Conan" nella quale veniva citato quindi posso ben dirlo... Galeotto fu quell'episodio! In quest'antologia, Ranpo con uno stile davvero accattivante e fluido - non tralasciando l'atmosfera "fumosa" tipica dei romanzi nipponici - commistiona diversi generi: si passa dal grottesco, all' horror, al poliziesco e altro ancora... Eppure pur appartenendo alla collana "Urania", not Se devo essere sincera ho scoperto dell'esistenza di questo scrittore durante la visione di una puntata dell'anime "Detective Conan" nella quale veniva citato quindi posso ben dirlo... Galeotto fu quell'episodio! In quest'antologia, Ranpo con uno stile davvero accattivante e fluido - non tralasciando l'atmosfera "fumosa" tipica dei romanzi nipponici - commistiona diversi generi: si passa dal grottesco, all' horror, al poliziesco e altro ancora... Eppure pur appartenendo alla collana "Urania", nota per la pubblicazione di libri di fantascienza, in questa raccolta di fantascientifico non ho trovato nulla. Hirai Taro, questo il vero nome dell'autore, si nasconde dietro lo pseudonimo "Edogawa Ranpo" omaggio onomatopeico al giallista di fama internazionale: Edgar Allan Poe. Per essere il primissimo approccio con questo scrittore devo ammettere che l'impressione è più che valida, pertanto farò il possibile per recuperare anche le altre sue opere. Valutazione per singolo racconto: La sedia umana ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Vicenda paradossale, dall'epilogo assolutamente non ordinario, avente come protagonista un fabbricante di sedie con un proposito davvero bizzarro, al limite della morbosità. Test psicologico ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Racconto dall'impronta fortemente poliziesca\mistery con tendenza al giallo. Gradevole ma, viste le numerose congetture sul piano logico, l'arrivo alla soluzione del caso ritengo sia stato un po' sbrigativo. Il Bruco ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/2 Tortuoso viaggio nella psiche di un uomo e della sua compagna il cui destino sembra già segnato... Ansiogeno e raccapricciante. La Rupe ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Dialogo tra amanti dal risvolto tragico. L'inferno Degli Specchi ⭐️⭐️ Lo scrittore analizza, con pochi passaggi, quanto sia facile scivolare dall'ossessione alla follia. I gemelli ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Reso sotto forma di un'accorata confessione di un condannato a morte, ancora una volta, il tema centrale è il delitto. La camera Rossa ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1\2 Protagonista di questo racconto un uomo davvero subdolo e perverso che dell'omicidio ha fatto una vera e propria vocazione, pur restando impunito sia per le istituzioni sia a livello di coscienziosità. I due menomati ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1\2 Racconto il cui punto focale è la manipolazione psicologica di un individuo facilmente influenzabile. Il viaggiatore con il quadro di stoffa ⭐️⭐️⭐️ Storia poco plausibile su un amore talmente travolgente da portare a conseguenze imprevedibili che avranno delle ripercussioni non indifferenti.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David

    I found this at an Oxfam bookshop in Manchester, and it made my day. Best find of 2011! And this isn't the Rampo book I have already ordered through my local bookshop (and has yet to arrive). How lucky is that? The Human Chair: My favourite. It's all gone a bit "Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected". The Psychological Test: How to catch a criminal with word-association games. The Caterpillar: Disturbing. The Cliff: Not amazing. The Hell of Mirrors: Nuts. I liked this line: "having now reached the age I found this at an Oxfam bookshop in Manchester, and it made my day. Best find of 2011! And this isn't the Rampo book I have already ordered through my local bookshop (and has yet to arrive). How lucky is that? The Human Chair: My favourite. It's all gone a bit "Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected". The Psychological Test: How to catch a criminal with word-association games. The Caterpillar: Disturbing. The Cliff: Not amazing. The Hell of Mirrors: Nuts. I liked this line: "having now reached the age of twenty, he began to show a keen interest in the opposite sex," Isn't Japan great? The Twins: I don't think Rampo should use abandoned wells in more than one story. The Red Chamber: Like a bad "Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected" (of which there were quite a few). Two Crippled Men: Yeah, good story. The Pasted Rag Picture: Genuine surprise with this one. Had absolutely no idea where it was going. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc46Gk...

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ana

    Como toda antología tiene relatos buenos y otros no tan buenos. Entre todos destacaré "La cámara roja" por su habilidad para jugar con el lector y que nos deja una sonrisa cómplice. Pero en todos los relatos se pueden encontrar ciertos rasgos de estilo y de temática que nos recuerdan a su querido Edgar Alan Poe. Después de haber leído otra antología de cuentos de un autor japonés estaba esperando que siguiese ese esquema, muy del gusto oriental, de dejar los relatos en suspenso y cortarlos antes Como toda antología tiene relatos buenos y otros no tan buenos. Entre todos destacaré "La cámara roja" por su habilidad para jugar con el lector y que nos deja una sonrisa cómplice. Pero en todos los relatos se pueden encontrar ciertos rasgos de estilo y de temática que nos recuerdan a su querido Edgar Alan Poe. Después de haber leído otra antología de cuentos de un autor japonés estaba esperando que siguiese ese esquema, muy del gusto oriental, de dejar los relatos en suspenso y cortarlos antes del esperado final. Por eso me ha sorprendido que no fuera así. Los relatos terminan y en algunos de ellos ese final es el que da todo el sentido al relato. Curioso el gusto del autor por los espejos y los juegos de apariencias. Muy recomendable para los amantes de Poe.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aravena

    So dark and strange, yet so delicious. This is the second Ranpo I’ve read following The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro, but whereas that collection is more of a conventional detective story, this one feels more versatile and accentuates Ranpo’s storytelling strengths better. The recurring theme of the nine stories in this book are the narrative style, in which a character recounts a strange story to another character (or to the readers), before a morbid twist is revealed in the end of these storie So dark and strange, yet so delicious. This is the second Ranpo I’ve read following The Early Cases of Akechi Kogoro, but whereas that collection is more of a conventional detective story, this one feels more versatile and accentuates Ranpo’s storytelling strengths better. The recurring theme of the nine stories in this book are the narrative style, in which a character recounts a strange story to another character (or to the readers), before a morbid twist is revealed in the end of these stories. The recount style varies between stories, and they’re mostly very effective, in addition to being accessible and thrilling page-turner. Ranpo’s pet themes can be spotted numerous times: various methods of murder, the psychology of physically and mentally disabled men, and reflecting devices such as mirrors and binoculars. The Human Chair A man sends a letter to a female writer about the erotic adventure of him hiding inside a chair. The highlight of the book, and despite the somewhat weak ending, it remains my favorite story here. (view spoiler)[The story gets weirder the more it goes, and climaxes with a terrifying twist that genuinely sends a shiver down my spine. There’s a second twist that unfortunately negates the impact of the revelation, but there’s also enough room left to the readers’ interpretation in the end. (hide spoiler)] The Psychological Test A fascinating story that breaks down the flaws in the use of ‘lie detection test’ to discover a murderer. Ranpo’s detective, Kogoro Akechi, briefly appear to crack the case here (thankfully without the customary let’s-spare-the-murderer-and-blame-someone-else nonsense), but most of the story are told from the murderer’s account. The Caterpillar A darkly erotic story told by the wife of a horribly disfigured man. A depressing story, but also very vivid in its brutally honest narrative. (view spoiler)[It unexpectedly has a bittersweet ending that left a strong impression on me. (hide spoiler)] The Cliff A woman and a man discuss the recent death of the woman’s husband. A bit predictable, but I enjoy the ending and the pure dialogue (it’s written like a theatrical script) form. The Hell of Mirrors In which mirrors are goddamn scary. A story about a man obsessed with mirrors, this feels more like a dark sci-fi story, or even a straight up horror. The Twins A man’s confession about how he murdered his twin brother. Decent story with a dose of black comedy at the ending. The Red Chamber A man recounts his murder methods to his club mates. The methods of murder discussed here are very interesting, but this one has the weakest ending among the stories here. (view spoiler)[Much like The Human Chair, this one has a shocking twist negated by the follow-up “hahaha just kidding, it never actually happened” twist. Again, another story that could’ve been better if Ranpo doesn’t pull his punches and just go ahead with the initial twist ending. (hide spoiler)] Two Crippled Man A sleepwalker recounts his disease to a new friend. I keep guessing what is the twist throughout the story, and in the end Ranpo still surprised me. Nice one. The Traveler with the Pasted Rag Picture An encounter in a train leads to a strange story with an even stranger ending. A decent end to the collection that feels slightly different with the rest, perhaps due to the more atmospheric description. ~ So yeah, this is basically The Twilight Zone: Japanese Style. That’s certainly my kind of thing; lots of fun with murders, bizarre supernatural events, plot twists, and the dark corners of human mind.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Book Wyrm

    Despite his name being a Japanese pronunciation (Katakanification? What is the technical term for this?) of 'Edgar Allan Poe', Rampo doesn't feel like a rip off of the American author, but an extremely inventive creator of morbid and macabre stories, most of which will sit with you for far longer than you want. The Chair is a particularly unsettling account of voyeurism and home invasion, which will worry anyone who's had a pushy admirer. The Caterpillar is an utterly horrible tale of post-confli Despite his name being a Japanese pronunciation (Katakanification? What is the technical term for this?) of 'Edgar Allan Poe', Rampo doesn't feel like a rip off of the American author, but an extremely inventive creator of morbid and macabre stories, most of which will sit with you for far longer than you want. The Chair is a particularly unsettling account of voyeurism and home invasion, which will worry anyone who's had a pushy admirer. The Caterpillar is an utterly horrible tale of post-conflict damage and the breaking point of human empathy and spousal love. The rest of the stories delve into murder, revenge, human frailty and that particualry deformed version of human misery normally found in manga artists. If you do like Japanese comics, chances are you've already encountered these tales, as Rampo is rampantly plagerised and paid homage too in various formats. Get this and read the originals, they're bloody good.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Иван Величков

    Едогава Рампо е име, което няма нужда от представяне (поне в Япония). Първопроходник, основател и приживе председател на съюза на японските автори на мистерии, той е вдъхнал живот на цял жанр, със стотици творящи в него автори. Това е първата му книга, излизала на английски, като той лично в продължение на пет години е следил превода да задоволява всичките му изисквания. Сборник от няколко къси истории, чието заглавие говори само за себе си, а псевдонима на автора дава допълнителна насока. Аз лично Едогава Рампо е име, което няма нужда от представяне (поне в Япония). Първопроходник, основател и приживе председател на съюза на японските автори на мистерии, той е вдъхнал живот на цял жанр, със стотици творящи в него автори. Това е първата му книга, излизала на английски, като той лично в продължение на пет години е следил превода да задоволява всичките му изисквания. Сборник от няколко къси истории, чието заглавие говори само за себе си, а псевдонима на автора дава допълнителна насока. Аз лично го препоръчвам на абсолютно всеки, който има прашинка любов към жанровата литература в сърцето си. Човекът-стол – Открива сборника с ударна вълна от терзания на една изкривена душа, напомняща разказите на самия По. Една известна писателка получава необичайно писмо-изповед от анонимен почитател, чието съдържание я потапя в делириумите пътища на една изстрадала душа и странното ѝ хоби. Психологическия тест – Класическа за Рампо детективска история, носеща белезите на любимите му теми (двойници, неуловимо престъпление), както и вездесъщия детектив Акечи Когоро. Беден, но доста умен студент изработва перфектните убийство и заблуда на модерния по времето му асоциативен тест. Но не е предвидил появата на ум, който го превъзхожда. Гъсеницата – Сигурно най-доброто нещо в сборника. Ветеран от войната е зверски обезобразен и съществуването му зависи изцяло от съпругата му. Един ден на нея и писва и последствията са чудовищни, до ниво на нереалност. Скалата – Типичен обратен криминален сюжет, но издържан в стила на Рампо и носещ нетипични за формата обрати. Една прясна семейна двойка ще потъне в редица изповеди и черни разкрития, за да достигне до дъното на фактите, които са ги събрали. Кой е жертвата? А кой чудовището? Адът от огледала – Също силно повлияна от По история, но този път в друга любима на американеца ниша – тази на науката, граничеща с мистерия по времето му, както и по времето на почти съименика му. Ексцентричен богаташ е обсебен от оптиката и по-точно от огледалата. Експериментите му бавно но сигурно го тласкат към загуба на разум. Близнаците – Отново мрачен криминален сюжет, разкриващ тъмнината на човешките страхове и угризения. Една изповед разкрива ужасно престъпление и още по-ужасни терзания, които превръщат престъпника в окаяна жертва. Червената стая – В търсене на перфектната заблуда за перфектното престъпление, Рампо рисува странни, но убедителни картини. Някъде бях чел, че е измислил 51 начина човек да е едновременно на две места. Тук е един от тях. В червената стая всяка седмица се събират любители на мистериите и един от тях разказва. Тази вечер, никой няма да е подготвен за това което ще чуе. Двама хроми мъже – Япония трябва да се радва, че Едогава Рампо е станал писател, а не престъпник. Как можеш да убедиш някого, че е извършил убийство и то без да си понесе правните последствия? В един санаториум се срещат две осакатени души. Единият носи физическите белези на войната, другият е белязан от чувството за вина. Близкото им приятелство им позволява да се разкрият един пред друг и това рисува пред читателя една мрачна картина на отново перфектното престъпление. Пътешественикът с бродирания портрет – Една история прескачаща ръба на вероятното и отнасяща читателя в дълбините на невъзможното. Мъж, дълбоко влюбен в нарисувана(избродирана по-точно) богиня, намира начин да заживее с нея на канавата. Ефектът е интересен, а разказа пленителен и леко плашещ.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pumsish

    ชอบความวิปริต หมกมุนกับสิงประหลาดและอาชญากรรมของผูเขียน ชอบความวิปริต หมกมุ่นกับสิ่งประหลาดและอาชญากรรมของผู้เขียน

  17. 4 out of 5

    DeAnna Knippling

    Short stories set in Japan, the same type of thing as Edgar Allen Poe's. These dark and twisted tales aren't as well known as they should be. Great stuff.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    The Japanese writer Hirai Taro (1894-1965) took the nom de plume Edogawa Rampo as a sign of his reverence for the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and is regarded as the first and greatest Japanese writer of mystery stories. This collection of nine of his stories, published in 1956, represents the first appearance of his work in English translation. Its title reflects, of course, the debt the author felt he owed to Poe. Only one of the stories is a mystery in the "detective story" sense, "The Psychologic The Japanese writer Hirai Taro (1894-1965) took the nom de plume Edogawa Rampo as a sign of his reverence for the work of Edgar Allan Poe, and is regarded as the first and greatest Japanese writer of mystery stories. This collection of nine of his stories, published in 1956, represents the first appearance of his work in English translation. Its title reflects, of course, the debt the author felt he owed to Poe. Only one of the stories is a mystery in the "detective story" sense, "The Psychological Test," and really, as it acknowledges, it's more of a Crime and Punishment riff with a rather weak piece of psychologizing appended. The others are indeed Poe-ish -- they're macabre tales, all of them fantasticated in the sense that they seem designed to spark the imagination rather than make us believe them, some of them also fantasticated in the sense that their rationales transcend the natural. Of the former "The Human Chair" is the standout: an ugly master carpenter creates a chair that he can secretly hide inside so as to enjoy the sensation, and the invasion of privacy, when people, especially attractive women, wriggle their bottoms on his lap. In the latter category I very much enjoyed the moving final tale in the collection, "The Traveler with the Pasted Rag Picture": through a concatenation of circumstances a man falls accidentally in love with an embroidered illustration of a beautiful women, and engineers the situation such that he can, likewise in stitched form, join her in a picture. Of the other tales, some are good and some are a bit so-so. Many display, like "The Human Chair," a somewhat kinky attitude toward sex that might have been acceptable in the Japanese mainstream at the time but perhaps explains why it took a while for the stories to appear in the tighter-assed West. Because of this aspect, and because of a certain ruthlessness of view, I was often reminded of the work (for grownups!) of Roald Dahl; Saki came to mind once or twice too. I wouldn't describe Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination as a collection of glittering prizes, but it's a very readable introduction to a writer of some historical significance.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Clint

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. While this wasn't quite as good as I was thinking it was going to be, it was, at times, much weirder. The first story, The Human Chair, was one of the best, but then, at the end of the story, just thrown on in the last couple of paragraphs, you find out it wasn't real, "but don't you think I'm a good writer?" What the fuck? Why would he (the writer) do that? It was great, and would have ended perfectly if he'd just cut off the end. He did the exact same thing later in another story, The Red Cham While this wasn't quite as good as I was thinking it was going to be, it was, at times, much weirder. The first story, The Human Chair, was one of the best, but then, at the end of the story, just thrown on in the last couple of paragraphs, you find out it wasn't real, "but don't you think I'm a good writer?" What the fuck? Why would he (the writer) do that? It was great, and would have ended perfectly if he'd just cut off the end. He did the exact same thing later in another story, The Red Chamber, which was really great, and, like The Human Chair, had a really great ending (and one of the only endings in the book that I hadn't guessed), and then, exactly the same thing. "Haha, got you, that wasn't real, but don't you think I'm a good writer?" Again, what the fuck?! Why?! Just cut off the last few paragraphs, and you have a 10 out of 10 story. Another strange thing about this book, or the author, is that these are supposed to be mystery stories, of a sort, but the reader doesn't usually get any mysteries, he's just told what happened, and then how people found out about it, which isn't quite the same thing as a mystery story. Some stories were really unsettling, like The Caterpillar, about a deaf, dumb, and finally blinded mutilated stump of a man and his extremely unhappy, angry wife and extremely unhappy suicide. There are some supernatural elements, such as in the last story, The Traveler With the Pasted Rag Picture. And one of them, The Hell of Mirrors (I think that's the name of it) I would probably rank as one of the best short stories I've ever read, definitely one of my favorites. But beneath all this, they were mostly kind of average murder stories.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Tosh

    Edogawa Rampo (say the name out loud) is one of the great literary figures in 1920's Japan. His short stories are a combination of erotica mixed with horror. Within Japan he is probably one of the most well-known writers - and rightfully so, because's he fanastic. If you like gothic drug induced sexy stories - then this is for you. A must for those Opium nightmare nights!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chupacandrea

    You will never look at an armchair the same way again.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mobyskine

    I was expecting a more suspense and mysterious stories, but it was just okay. Fairly thrilled, fairly presented. I fancy the idea especially The Human Chair (I probably would think about the cabinet-maker every time I see a leather-covered armchair anywhere now, that was seriously spooky!), The Psychological Test and The Twins. Not that much atmospheric, but the crime plotting stuff was quite fascinating. Worth a read, somehow.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Blackdogsworld

    ชือหนังสือวา "สยองขวัญ" อาจไมตรงเสียทีเดียว แตนาจะเปน "ระทึกขวัญ" มากกวา เปนรวมเรืองสันทีอานเพลิน มีหักมุมหลายตอนเลยครับ ชื่อหนังสือว่า "สยองขวัญ" อาจไม่ตรงเสียทีเดียว แต่น่าจะเป็น "ระทึกขวัญ" มากกว่า เป็นรวมเรื่องสั้นที่อ่านเพลิน มีหักมุมหลายตอนเลยครับ

  24. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Mars

    A modo de introducción en la narrativa japonesa de misterio, este libro sirve de mucho. Son relatos cortos, precisos y cumple con el enunciado de su título: misterio y mucha imaginación. Ahora, no esperen encontrar relatos para morir de susto estilo Ringu. Si lo leen con esa intención les digo desde ya que van por mal camino.

  25. 5 out of 5

    juan carlos

    Grandes cuentos de suspenso que te muestran lo retorcido de la mente humana, gustos macabros que te aterraran y te pondrán la piel de gallina. Estas historias van desde el arte sombrío hasta el romance trágico paranormal. Obsesiones y asesinos inteligentes navegan en estas paginas provocando risas macabras y sangre de victimas inocentes. También los giros paranormales en estas historias dan un toque formidable que todo lector amante del terror aplaudirán.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Fernando

    Author: Edogawa Rampo Edogaw Aram Po Get it? Clever!

  27. 5 out of 5

    R K

    Imagine becoming so famous in writing mysteries that you earn an award in your name that, till this day, is seen as a prestigious award to win for the mystery/thriller genre. Edogawa Ranpo was this man. He was influenced by infamous writers Edgar Allen Poe, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes and managed to create new stories that were infused in Japanese culture. Not all these stories are a 'who done i?' story. Most are from the perspective of the perpetrator and some are thrillers that leave Imagine becoming so famous in writing mysteries that you earn an award in your name that, till this day, is seen as a prestigious award to win for the mystery/thriller genre. Edogawa Ranpo was this man. He was influenced by infamous writers Edgar Allen Poe, Agatha Christie, and Sherlock Holmes and managed to create new stories that were infused in Japanese culture. Not all these stories are a 'who done i?' story. Most are from the perspective of the perpetrator and some are thrillers that leave you wondering on what you just read. The Human Chair 4/5 A very interesting way to creep you out. The way the chair was described made you squirm in the very chair you sat in to read this novel. It leaves you wondering on what was true and what was false. The Psychological Test 5/5 This is something completely original in regards to mystery. I have never ever encountered this in any mystery books, even modern ones. It's fantastic how forensic and psychological tests are utilized in this story. Ranpo goes so far as to show how the perpetrator manages to evade these tests. It's so logical in how it unfolds and yet, still manages to make you giddy when you see how evidence and results are used by the detective. One of the best mysteries I have ever read The Caterpillar5/5 This sent a shudder down my spine. It goes so far so how the effect taking care of an invalid has on both the caretaker and the patient. It's quiet disturbing and makes you really wonder how the ending was possible. The Cliff 3/5 This was a weaker story. It consists of a dialogue between A man and a women. They are married and are discussing how their marriage came to be. It's dark and definitely has a cliffhanger (:P) moment. The Hell of Mirrors 1/5 This was the weakest story. I'm not quite sure what Ranpo was trying to do here. The Twins 3/5 A very good tale show showcasing how not being careful can come back to bite you. It also shows how complicated committing a crime is. The Red Chamber 5/5 This was so sinister. Holy crap. After reading this you will become suspicious of anyone you meet. It's an utterly fantastic tale of how human psychology can be so easily twisted. It even makes you wonder if mental intention can be criminalized. This was one of the best thrillers I have read and my heart was pounding at the climax! Two Crippled Men 5/5 Another tale showcasing how humans can be manipulated by themselves and by others. The power of suggestion is the theme here. The Traveler with the Pasted Rag Picture 2/5 This was a bit random but not too bad. It's a bit hard to analyze mystery without spoiling the whole thing but these stories are ones that are left in you brain long after you've read it. It's surprising how something written so long ago can still freak you out. I can see why there is an award dedicated to him! Edogawa Ranpo definitely deserves to stand on the same pedestal as other famous crime/mystery/thriller authors and if that's your genre, then his name should be on your bookshelves.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lee Foust

    Excellent narrative craftsmanship shines forth in these tales. Quite enjoyable from the first story to the last in a crystalline manner. True to his American namesake, Edgar Allan Poe, a couple of these tales of Rampo's feature those weird moments of horrific imagery that makes Poe's tales so unique--even when there is little in the way of plot to recommend them--and in other tales, the careful step-by-step plotting of the mystery story is at work, revealing the narrative like a gallery worker s Excellent narrative craftsmanship shines forth in these tales. Quite enjoyable from the first story to the last in a crystalline manner. True to his American namesake, Edgar Allan Poe, a couple of these tales of Rampo's feature those weird moments of horrific imagery that makes Poe's tales so unique--even when there is little in the way of plot to recommend them--and in other tales, the careful step-by-step plotting of the mystery story is at work, revealing the narrative like a gallery worker slowly peeling the drapery from off of a painting until the denouement shines forth in all of its glory, a completed and satisfying picture. Rampo's much-heralded masterpiece of short fiction (I first read it at Harlan Ellison's urging in a collection of writers' favorite scary stories), "The Human Chair," lushly combines both an inspired flight of imagistic weirdness with an iron-clad narrative construction. Dry as a perfect Martini at sunset on a crisp fall afternoon. Also interesting, to me, was the translator's introduction. I always feel anxiety reading a Japanese or Chinese narrative in English, worried about how different a transmissive medium the character is from our own phonetic writing system. In this case, the translator explains that Rampo could understand English but not speak it and that he, similarly, knew spoken Japanese but not the written language. It took them five years of Rampo reading him the texts aloud and then re-checking the English sentences through his own knowledge of our Anglo-Saxon and Norman mishmash for the two to produce these few translations. I imagine, then, that this edition will remain the definitive Rampo in English. Delicate, precise, and enjoyable--with the occasional shiver. I wish they'd put another five years towards a second volume.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Someone had reccomended this to me and I approached it with hesitation because. lot of times people recommend books and they turn out to be awful. I'm glad I read this though and found that once I started it, I simply couldn't stop. it's a great introduction to a writer few have heard of, but should read. Rampo had a gift for story telling and picking a genre for this is difficult. Each story blends seamlessly into the next plunging you into a world that few writers delve into. It's a collectio Someone had reccomended this to me and I approached it with hesitation because. lot of times people recommend books and they turn out to be awful. I'm glad I read this though and found that once I started it, I simply couldn't stop. it's a great introduction to a writer few have heard of, but should read. Rampo had a gift for story telling and picking a genre for this is difficult. Each story blends seamlessly into the next plunging you into a world that few writers delve into. It's a collection of weird, yet wonderful stories that are well written and influenced by Poe. It's a great introduction to a writer that sadly fell through the cracks. When you talk about the art of story telling, and weird fiction Rampo's name is never mentioned. As we look back at classic weird fiction and horror, do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Writers like Rampo are rare and deserve to be read, and read often. Rampo knew how to craft a great story. He has a gift for creating these strange tales and makes it look easy.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eadweard

    Favorite stories; The Human Chair, The Caterpillar, The Hell of Mirrors. Loved The Caterpillar, a war veteran is so disfigured and maimed that he resembles a caterpillar. I read that it was banned in nationalistic war mongering Japan, wonder why. It was also recently made into a movie.

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