Bullseye! is an eclectic mix of stories written by Yasutaka Tsutsui and translated by Andrew Driver. The stories in the collection span the length of Tsutsui’s career as a writer and definitely fall into the magically real/absurdist line of fiction. There are a range of characters and voices in evidence in the collection, and one is never quite sure which direction is down with some of the narrators, which lends to the heady atmosphere of the stories, all of which is bolstered by philosophy and psychology.
While I found myself enjoying the stories, I wasn’t sure in most of them what the takeaway was. I’d reach the end of, for instance, “The Onlooker,” and not be quite sure where the main character was headed or what I was supposed to be thinking. It was at times a bit frustrating but was overall a refreshing change from some of the more obvious messages in western stories. Some other stories seemed to exist solely to function as a device for a joke or one-liner, such as “Call for the Devil!” I was not so much a fan of those stories.
I did find it a bit difficult to work my way through the collection for the simple fact that the voice and content jumps between the stories were quite difficult. They are arranged rather haphazardly, and not chronologically through the author’s career, which would have made the most sense to me. Therefore we have huge jumps in tone and subject matter and even voice and characterization that don’t make sense and make it hard to take the collection in as a single publication. The other issue I had with the stories was actually in the word choice. I’m not sure if this is a problem that stems from the original stories or if it was compounded in translation, but I found some of the stories overly wordy, as if trying to show off how much knowledge of philosophy the author had, while in other instances the voice and word choice became overly colloquial. It added to the whiplash effect and made for an inconsistent reading experience across the whole of the collection.
|Page Count||236 pages|
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|Category||Poetry & Short Stories|