Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Of fetishes and human body parts

Reading Asa Nonami's short story collection, Bødy, is both an enjoyable and uncomfortable experience. The 5 featured stories here all have one thing in common: how we can become totally focused on one body part and ultimately compromising our wholeness as persons.

Let's face itwe all have our bodily fetishes. Be it the nape, the fingers, the belly button, or whatever, there's that body part that turns us on. (I have a kinky fetish, but of course I won't tell.) But the characters in Bødy take it to the extreme.

And what are these 5 stories? The first is about a housewife who gets so addicted with plastic surgery that her husband goes home one night and fails to recognize her. The second concerns a guy who's so paranoid about his hair loss that he eventually loses his girlfriend because of it. We also meet a guy who fondles women's knees on the train. Then there's the girl who goes on an extreme diet to avoid defecating. The last is about a teenage boy who becomes a target of men's fists in boxing matches.

All of these stories are very much disturbing. But I've come to expect it from Nonami, whose previous novel, Now You're One of Us, has elements of Rosemary's Baby, hallucinogens, and dysfunctional families. As a collection, Bødy lets us peek into modern-day Japan, with its unhealthy materialism, fast-paced lifestyle, and warped fixations.

If I were to pick 1 story that I liked best, it would have to be "Buttocks." In that story, a girl goes to an elite boarding school in Tokyo, gets ridiculed for having a fat ass, discovers blood in her stool, and swears off food to avoid making use of her rectum. If that isn't sick enough, I don't know what is.

Read this book if:
  1. You know you could be more good looking if not for this one body part.
  2. You like reading about fetishes.
  3. You love short story collections.


Monique said...

You can just whisper it to me then. I won't tell! Sssshhh. :D

Peter S. said...


Chee said...

sounds interesting :)

Peter S. said...

Oh, it is!