I had said in my last post that Murakami had put me out of sorts. I was struggling to find and enjoy new novel. I had finished Cell by Stephen King but I still had that weird post-Murakami depression, luckily it’s not long until The Strange Library is published. After feeling sorry for myself for a few days I decided to have a browse to see if I could find a someone new to read, as luck would have it on a quiet Sunday a new book caught my eye.
I pretty much have a preconditioned weakness for anything with Japan in the title so when I spotted Bending Adversity by David Pilling I knew I had to read it.
For anyone even slightly interested in modern Asia Pilling brings history, politics and economics to life in this outstanding look at Japan. Opening with a harrowing account of the 2011 tsunami, Pilling leaves readers in shock and astonishment of how Japan or any nation for that matter can overcome the level of devastation that follows a natural disaster. Within a few chapters I found myself looking up flight prices for Tokyo.
Pilling’s way of bleeding history, economics and social science is seamless. Even if you only have a tourists knowledge of Japan, Pilling highlights the triumphs of what can be a mysterious land and it’s equally enigmatic culture. Bending Adversity doesn’t shy away from Japan’s shortcomings either, discussing World War II and Japan’s early isolation from the rest of the world.
Pilling doesn’t overwhelm his readers with facts and figures but uses his strengths as a journalist to find anecdotes and relays them in elegant way, keeping the reader on board with every word.
Pilling’s writing is dignified and engrossing. Bending Adversity is easily the most interesting book about Japan to be published in years. Thanks David Pilling and Penguin for getting me out of a reading-rut.