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365 Views of Mt. Fuji: Algorithms of the Floating World Paperback – June 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press (June 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1880656353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1880656358
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,061,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Evocative, elegant, elusive, and ethereal." -Pat Hartman -- Pat Hartman

"Evocative, elegant, elusive, and ethereal." -Pat Hartman -- Review

As a lover of books, I sometimes curse the computer for what it has done to the written word, and occasionally to those who practice the art of novel writing most adeptly. In the name of interactivity, we can now read thinly plotted "cybernovels" on-line, or purchase CD-ROMs, mixing and matching narratives (sometimes a life's work) with a mouse click, artificially altering linear stories to suit our whims. We can participate in corporate-subsidized, hypertext serials, judged by much-praised, well-compensated novelists on holiday. Ah, progressŠ Todd Shimoda, who won the John Updike-judged Amazon.com serial competition last year, has structured his new novel by applying the mix-and-match, CD-ROM strategy to the page. Shimoda is a good writer-the main narrative piece of 365 Views of Mt. Fuji is a spare but engaging story, fraught with meditations on madness, sex, art, and spirituality. The problem here is in the constant flow of asides that fill the novel's margins-"character bytes," they're called-only occasionally supplying vital plot information or setting description, more often proving disjointed and distracting. Between the "bytes," the text, and the over 400 fine but cramped illustrations that fill nearly every page, the reader experiences a kind of constant sensory overload, detracting from the book's central focus-the story. Then again, maybe I've gotten it all wrong. Maybe the experience of shifting one's eyes from text to margin to picture is the real point of Shimoda's book, making it more of an exercise than a novel. While the sense of formal experiment is admirable, 365 Views of Mt. Fuji truly does belong in an on-line format, out on some Web site, where interactivity is a suitable substitute for pleasurable reading. -- From Independent Publisher

The layout of the book is designed to agitate, if not actually madden, the reader. Yukawa's story is paralleled, in marginal notes, by those of the other characters, forcing eye and attention into a constant, dizzying zigzag. The whole complicated tale is a metaphor for the author's view of modern Japanese society as an assemblage of incompatible elements and traditions that create psychological civil war in its citizens. If the novel's purpose is grim, its action is lively and the symbolism is provocative. -- The Atlantic Monthly, Phoebe-Lou Adams

About the Author

Todd Shimoda is associate professor of communication and information technology at Colorado State University.

L.J.C. Shimoda is an illustrator, digital artist, and designer.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 30, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From a press that specializes in the niche market of people fascinated with things Japanese. This book started as a computer CD project that fell through, becoming instead an interesting experiment in presenting multiple voices in text and pictures. The fictionalized stories of the original artist of the famous 365 views and the modern day pursuers of his work are successfully integrated into multiple narrative voices, although the illustrations rarely relate to the story, and are sometimes a distraction, such as the repeating "ink drop" patterns every few pages. This book is at its best capturing the repressed and conformist inner life of its main character, a museum curator. The story has qualities of the popular Japanese comic book novels, with sinister plots and suspected conspiracies, an intimidating industrial magnate, and occasional bouts of lust to retain our attention. The mix of voices from the past, the present, and possible cybernetic future leads the reader to poignant thoughts about the relationship of past and present, and the attactions and repulsions of modern Japanese culture.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 24, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is one surprise after the other. First, the main text is a fast paced, mystery/suspense novel that would stand well on its own. However, in the margins are small sub-stories that can be read on their own but really are pertinent to the unfolding novel. In addition, every page has beautiful pen and ink drawings that are related to that particular part of the story. These drawings are a curious mixture of classical japanese art icons and ultra-modern social commentary. It is amazing how well these three elements blend to exponentially enhance the book's message. Although I was initally put off by the daunting task of assimilating all the information on each page, it was surprisingly easy and enjoyable to read. It's a book you want to read again immediatly after finishing it and one you want to set on your coffee table so you can thumb through the artwork. 5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Most writers have enough trouble managing one viewpoint throughout a novel. Meet Todd Shimoda, the brilliant author who uses three intertwined narratives to tell the story of 365 Views Of Mount Fuji.
This is a story of the conflict between tradition and desire, expectations and personal freedom. Keizo Yukawa thinks he knows what he wants, but a move to a new job in a strange new environment will make him question his goals.
The story of Yukawa is the main thread of narrative. Sidebars provide insight into the strange characters that he encounters. Beautiful, traditional illustrations in the margin are a flickering glimpse of the past and the present.
Blending the ancient world with the growing techno-society produces a mesmerizing tour through the mind of modern Japan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dick Johnson VINE VOICE on July 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is unusual and nearly mesmerizing. Todd Shimoda's story mixed with his wife's (L. J. C. Shimoda) illustrations are a marvelous mix. The sidebars that tell even more of the story worked great in concert with the rest.

We are taken on a journey into art - the art of Takenoko who painted the 365 pictures of Mt. Fuji at a rate of one per day. The protagonist, Keizo Yukawa, is hired to the curator position of a new museum. This museum is the idea of one of three siblings who each own about a third of Takenoko's paintings.

All is not, however, as Yukawa is expecting. Those brothers (2) and sister, along with two daughters, make up a family that is not so much dysfunctional as much as it is lacking in any function as a group. Perhaps. Or, Yukawa could be missing something; or lots of somethings.

His treatment of the family and by the family make up the storyline as he nominally works to catalog and assemble the 365 paintings into one coherent display in the new museum. How that storyline plays out within the historical information about the artist and the players is incredibly well written.

Take a few minutes and make use of the "Look Inside" feature above. You will get a sense of the style of the entire book. Then, grab this and read it slowly, enjoying the art as you turn the pages.

I've bought the other books written by the Shimodas and look forward to them. Others in my family are waiting for me to pass them on to them.
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