Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Book Review: Yakuza Pride

Book: Yakuza Pride
Author: H.J. Brues
ISBN13: 978-1615819522
Number of pages: 350

Matsunaga Shigure is a yakuza who has risen from being a social outcast to be the visible head and underboss (Wakagashira) of the Shinayawa gang. Kenneth Harris a.k.a. Kenshin is an America children stories illustrator, son of a senator, rejected by his parents and has heterochromia (each of his eyes are a different colour, see how I like to throw in fancy terms?). They meet. Sparks flow around and sex ensues. Then there’s conspiracies, jealousy, art comments and a yakuza wakagashira acting like a hysterical cheerleader, more sex, non consensual sex, kidnappings and shibari (rope bondage).

All in all I had a lot of fun reading this book, I really did. However, there are a few things that mess the fun up.

First. Grammar: -est suffix, also known as superlative. If you go ‘deepest’ you can’t go deeper than that. No matter what position you change into, nor how hot and bothered you are. Pesky thing, grammar. Loopholes in it can kill, especially if you are a Nazgul [link].

Second, third, and a bunch more. Refractory periods. I really doubt you can stand inside a closed-roof Mercedes. A guy who never laughs should not spend the book cracking up. It is really difficult for one man to control two hostages and tie them up with pretty knots. Obvious clues are obvious. Bruises linger. Broken bones do not heal in a day. A hard-boiled yakuza does not bitchslap his underlies. He would not let anyone defeat him in the dōjō either. Characters that switch personalities like a random person would switch underwear. Leaving the yakuza behind is not like quitting your bowling club.

And last but not least… sex is not the answer to sexual trauma, especially when the person who has suffered the trauma says ‘no’ and the other goes on anyway. Remember the wisdom of the Internet, children, No always means No, unless there has been several hours of discussion and a safeword in place. Then ‘Purple fuzzy unicorn’ means no.

Would mention a few more things, but I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who might want to read the book. I was reluctant to read it at first because having done so much research on yakuza lately I worried about it being really disappointing. To my delight it was rather well-researched (a couple of slippery terms might have been misused) and did leave me with a general good vibe and a laugh or two. Not the most serious work ever though. General good use of Japanese honorifics, too, and typical Japanese terms like ‘losing face’ and yakuza slang.

The epilogue kinda kills lots of the mood after an ending that did not manage to convince me, but telling more would be spoilery, and thus I shall remain silent

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6 responses to “Book Review: Yakuza Pride

  1. Denise April 22, 2012 at 08:31

    The epilogue was superfluous. Entirely. But I don’t regret having read this, if only to mentally note what mistakes not to make myself in the future.