Book Review

Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse

Black Rain by Masuji Ibuse John Hersey's immensely moving Hiroshima is the text often burdened with the explication of the atom bomb's terror. Ibuse's Black Rain deserves equal exposure to a Western audience. Based on contemporaneous diary and journal entries of the bombing we follow the principal narrator Shigematsu, in the days after the destruction of his home, when the black rain threatened and fell. Unbearably poignant, Shigematsu begins re-writing his journal of the events in the hope of securing an engagement for his niece scarred by radiation sickness. Black Rain is never mawkish nor melodramatic. Its microscopic view initially seems to fail to ask the larger political and moral questions that surely such an atrocity demands, but a more nuanced understanding soon dawns: these larger questions cannot be asked of any situation if the more prosaic comprehension of ordinary human misery (and its correlative: ordinary human pride) is not in some way investigated. Black Rain has an awful beauty. It is a testimony to hope and a disavowal of horror. And it is a feat of writing brilliance.
-- Reviewed by Mark Thwaite on 30/08/2004

Further Information
ISBN-10: 087011364X
ISBN-13: 9780870113642
Publisher: Kodansha Europe
Publication Date: 01/03/1994
Binding: Paperback
Number of pages: 304

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