It is my great pleasure to announce my discovery of a writer nearly as fabulous as Poe!
Anyone who’s read Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s works knows what I’m talking about. He’s dark, but not wicked. He’s twisted, but makes sense. He’s a wizard of words and an artist of language.
Basically, he’s everything I strive to be.
But enough about Akutagawa. Let’s talk about his short story, “In a Bamboo Grove”.
To start off, the format is incredibly unique in a really intriguing (and amazing) way. Instead of being a straightforward story, “In a Bamboo Grove” is set up so that you slowly figure out the mystery through the testimonies, confessions, and stories of different characters. This gives you a look at all the different perspectives of the many individuals that surround the main event of the story.
And Heaven knows I love the idea of perspectives.
Obviously, Akutagawa did as well. The story is about a murder trial, and he twists the perspectives in a very realistic way so that, in the end, you still don’t know what exactly happened. Seriously. Three people claimed to have killed the same person. In three different ways.
What. The. Heck.
However, this is the truth about perspectives, a truth that very few authors seem to understand. No two people can possibly see or experience one event the exact same way, especially an event as traumatic as a murder. The fact that Akutagawa understood this truth so fully is the main reason he’s now on my top writers list.
Real quick, before I wrap up this lengthy post, just a little something I noticed.
WHAT THE HECK HAPPENED TO THE COMB?!?!?
Reader, if you have access to the story at this time, please read the very first testimony, the one from the Woodcutter.
Notice that he says all he found next to the dead man was a rope and a comb.
That comb is never mentioned again.
So, I ask again. What. The heck. Happened. To. The comb?!?
And with that thought eating at your mind, I bid thee farewell. Have a great day (or night)! If you have a theory about the comb, let me know! I’m going insane over it. I may even go into a separate rant about my many thoughts surrounding the comb.
Until next time!
*Image is of a Bamboo Grove. Use for better imagery when reading.*