After reading Akutagawa’s “The Robbers” last week, I went onto Wikipedia to see when Peter Carey, who wrote Theft in 2006, had written Wrong About Japan. The latter discusses Carey’s travels with his son in that nation, and for some reason I had a fanciful thought that he might have read “The Robbers” during his trip, and it might have inspired him to write Theft. I’m not sure why that thought came to mind, as far fetched as it might be. One was that both stories contain plots around theft. They also explore how fraternal bonds handle stress, and both stories allow the reader to get details from the perspectives of the brothers in their respective tales.
However, the writing styles are quite different. Carey’s work is remarkable for how many details it manages to omit out while still allowing one to reconstruct the missing pieces. Akutagawa’s (or at the very least its translation) is brilliant for how much detail it adds to give a vivid description of a city in decay. Despite the stylistic differences, I couldn’t shake the resonance between the two stories, especially upon reading the climax of Akutagawa’s.
Wrong About Japan was published in 2005.