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Bullies is a set of two fictional short stories, both set in the Far East, one in Tokyo, Japan, and the other in Daegu, “an average South Korean city.”

 

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While the narration of the two stories is different for clear reasons, they share many similarities; indeed, it seems as though the depressed and deflated Kim Min-su, namesake of “Above Average: The Tale of Kim Min-su” is aged and transported to another Asian city struggling with development and globalization in the second story, “Kenji Nakamura x Tokyo.” Therefore, there are a plethora of parallels between the two stories, but perhaps the most revealing is the overlay of cultural and historical clashes of Asia, and how the past and present can intertwine in one figure.

The stories are presented as being “international” and while their penmanship by an American author may take away from the authenticity of the cultural rituals that the stories describe, it adds an engaging twist, as the work seems more real and heartfelt, as though the author is projecting himself and his foreignness onto characters who themselves feel lost in their societies, and the shifting customs that alienate us in the societies that we are placed in.

This transplant works to the reader’s advantage, creating characters who sire empathy in an exciting and different setting that is too often overlooked in American literature.

While some of the stereotypes portrayed in Bullies feel overly Americanized, it is easy to feel as though the reader is hand-in-hand with the characters, and “just another victim of Tokyo.”

 

Number of Pages: 32

Recommended For: A nightcap, a lunch break

Enjoy it With: a glass of saki or soju

For fans of: travel and adventure stories, manga

Best Place to Buy It: http://www.amazon.com/Bullies-ebook/dp/B00E8DOUIS

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