Title: The Woman In The Purple Skirt
Author: Natsuko Imamura
Book Information: Almost every day, the Woman in the Purple Skirt buys a single cream bun and goes to the park, where she sits on a bench to eat it as the local children taunt her. She is observed at all times by the undetected narrator, the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan.
From a distance, the Woman in the Purple Skirt looks like a schoolgirl, but there are age spots on her face, and her hair is dry and stiff. Like the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, she is single, she lives in a small, run-down apartment, and she is short on money. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan lures her to a job where she herself works, as a hotel housekeeper; soon the Woman in the Purple Skirt is having an affair with the boss. Unfortunately, no one knows or cares about the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan. That’s the difference between her and the Woman in the Purple Skirt.
Studiously deadpan, highly original, and unsettling, The Woman in the Purple Skirt explores the dynamics of envy, the mechanisms of power in the workplace, and the vulnerability of unmarried women in a taut, voyeuristic narrative about the sometimes desperate desire to be seen.
This is probably my fifth Japanese title -but my first from this author- and I am hard pressed to believe that there is a characteristic solemnity that Japanese authors employ in their works. The bulk of it is without major character developments although the works tend to be more character-focused.
Of course, employing this approach makes the books easily readable but, oftentimes, the book comes across as underwhelming, shallow, lacking the depth and complexities people look to find in fiction. To an extent, such a book could be seen as a dreadfully extended yawn.
Creepiness- that’s the word. TWITPS was being watched for a long time. The stalker being The Woman in The Yellow Cardigan. TWITYC observes TWITPS for a long time and pretty much follows her everywhere. TWITYC knows TWITPS’ daily schedule and dutifully takes notes of her goings and comings. The blurb says this is simply an attempt at friendship, but, unfortunately, I couldn’t relate to the voyeuristic pleasure TWITYC enjoyed by watching TWITPS go about her daily affairs.
I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a wonderful job portraying the stalker, The Woman In The Yellow Cardigan. This unhealthy obsession would make TWITYC make so many changes to her life to fit her stalking. This is unsettling already.
So, listen/read (to) this book if…God, I can’t even recommend it. It’s hard to piece out the themes. An option would be to say if you love office politics, but that is a bit of a stretch. Rather, if you want a book about creepy stalkers with little to no climatic scenarios, this is perfect for you.
I am sure you can already tell that I didn’t enjoy this book. I hate whenever I am unable to bring myself to like a book. Then again, different strokes for different people.