Book Review, Fiction, N2

[N2] 君の膵臓(すいぞう)をたべたい

A nameless protagonist accidentally comes across the diary of his classmate Sakura and discovers that she suffers from an incurable pancreatic disease. From that point on, the two teenagers, who consider themselves polar opposites, are linked by this secret and decide on spending more time together.

Already in the prologue, the narrative reveals how Sakura’s illness will progress. It is thus clear from the beginning what will eventually happen – the question is when and how. The quirky relationship between the main characters and their tangled emotions are described so lovingly, however, that the twist just inevitably cuts deep.

The stylistic devices in this novel made for an especially interesting read. The protagonist remains unnamed in an interesting way: Whenever another person calls his name or refers to him in any way, his name is redacted (by himself?) and replaced with a description such as: 【秘密(ひみつ)()ってるクラスメイト】くん、【(なか)のいいクラスメイト】くん、【地味(じみ)なクラスメイト】くん、 or【大人(おとな)しい生徒(せいと)】くん. Through his relationship with his classmate Sakura, he changes the way he redacts his own name depending on how he thinks she perceives him, and that was a very interesting decision to further portray their evolving relationship beyond just the narrative level!

There are other examples of interesting stylistic devices as well. The protagonist’s inner monologue shows how he relates to others through describing their characteristics and explaining their actions to himself. Especially in the second half he makes use of the same sentence structure over and over for an entire page to put his feelings into words, which had a strong impact. It’s fun being able to recognize and analyse these devices in a book in a foreign language, so I didn’t mind their excessive use at all.

My version of “I want to eat you Pancreas” had furigana, but even without them I can highly recommend this novel/light novel to readers with reading abilities about N2. Besides the versions without furigana and with furigana, there is also a two-part manga based on the same story that’s even easier than N2.

Length: 188 pages

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