Ian BurumaPosted: September 20, 2018 Filed under: writing 2 Comments
Ian Buruma is a great writer. I’ve learned so much from his books, his writings on Japan were super illuminating to me, and Year Zero is a powerful work by a great mind.
That piece in NYRB by the Canadian radio guy who used to punch women in the head and choke them by surprise and be a monster to co-workers was not acceptable or valuable or at all necessary.
Didn’t Jon Ronson write a whole book about this?
One of the great talents of Ian Buruma (in my experience as a reader) is opening his eyes, comprehending and informing himself and then sharing ideas about the currents of culture. I hope he keeps doing that.
I tried to read Buruma’s Tokyo memoir recently but eventually put it down in disappointment. There some interesting scenes of Tokyo subcultures but there was nothing of particular interest in his observations of those scenes, his self-disclosure, or his prose. Compared to other memoirs I have read and loved — such as Vivian Gornick’s or Oliver Sacks’ or Rizard Kapucinski’s — it was a mediocre borderline waste of time.
Fair take. I thought Buruma was really onto something and illuminating in Inventing Japan and A Japanese Mirror. Some of his articles I remember being real good too. He missed the point on this one, for sure, which is a shame in my opinion. He has a lot to offer I think.