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Japanese Ghost Stories

Penguin Classics
Written by: Lafcadio Hearn
Narrated by: Eleanor Matsuura
Length: 9 hrs and 5 mins

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.  

This Penguin Classic is performed by Eleanor Matsuura, known for AMC's The Walking Dead and Spooks. This definitive recording includes an Introduction by Paul Murray.  

In this collection of classic ghost stories from Japan, beautiful princesses turn out to be frogs, paintings come alive, deadly spectral brides haunt the living and a samurai delivers the baby of a Shinto goddess with mystical help. Here are all the phantoms and ghouls of Japanese folklore: 'rokuro-kubi', whose heads separate from their bodies at night; 'jikininki', or flesh-eating goblins; and terrifying faceless 'mujina' who haunt lonely neighbourhoods. Lafcadio Hearn, a master storyteller, drew on traditional Japanese folklore, infused with memories of his own haunted childhood in Ireland, to create these chilling tales. They are today regarded in Japan as classics in their own right.

Public Domain (P)2019 Penguin Audio

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  • E.S.
  • 16-11-19

Finally on Audible!

I have a wishlist of books I want to see on Audible and this was one of them. I was so pleased to see this collection of stories available. The narrator does a fantastic job with pronunciations and has a very pleasant voice. I much appreciated the footnotes, as they explained Japanese words, terms, and ideals that may otherwise be unknown to the reader. It was like having a personal guide to Japanese culture/fairytales, which was a essentially what Lafcadio Hearn’s books were. I was very satisfied with this book!

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Teresa Inafuku
  • 12-04-20

Disappointing...reading the book might have been more gratifying...but when you're losing your eyesight your options become limi

The narrator was a let down. I thought the recitation of the poems sounded inauthentic...having lived in Japan and have familiarity with the language I found the narrator's voice inauthentic. This might be a minor thing but I was expecting more. Having read Shadowings over 50 years ago I was so looking forward to this book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Chemar
  • 02-12-19

Difficult to Follow

Interesting information. Probably enjoyed the background on the author the most as it could be easily followed. The rest of the book with footnotes interspersed mid text was a bit difficult.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Johandre
  • 21-11-19

Great collection of stories.

The narrator was very pleasing to listen to and the journey was very immersive, story to story. That immersion was broken a bit by difficulty or unfamiliarity pronouncing a large number of Japanese words. Or perhaps this was an intentional performance choice, seeing as the narrator's last name appears to be Japanese and that she may be perfectly familiar with the native pronunciations. If so, it was a poor stylistic choice in my opinion, as it cripples the audio book's appeal to Japanese language learners and may reinforce mispronounciation. This criticism aside, the overall listen was great!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Atul Joshi
  • 26-05-20

Great writer great narrator

Forget lovecraft - honestly the depth that this man gets to is way way better and nuanced. Narrator delivers a superlative treatment. Ten stars.

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  • Aldris247
  • 08-11-19

Good book, awful script

The scripting jarringly throws titles and footnotes into the middle of speech: there's more to an audiobook than just reading everything on the page. Ms. Matsuura's voice performance is decent, but edits are needed when adapting from the book to audio.

1 person found this helpful