Read The Great Passage by Shion Miura Juliet Winters Carpenter Online

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A charmingly warm and hopeful story of love, friendship, and the power of human connection. Award-winning Japanese author Shion Miura’s novel is a reminder that a life dedicated to passion is a life well lived.Inspired as a boy by the multiple meanings to be found for a single word in the dictionary, Kohei Araki is devoted to the notion that a dictionary is a boat to carryA charmingly warm and hopeful story of love, friendship, and the power of human connection. Award-winning Japanese author Shion Miura’s novel is a reminder that a life dedicated to passion is a life well lived.Inspired as a boy by the multiple meanings to be found for a single word in the dictionary, Kohei Araki is devoted to the notion that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years creating them at Gembu Books, it’s time for him to retire and find his replacement.He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime—a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics—whom he swipes from his company’s sales department.Led by his new mentor and joined by an energetic, if reluctant, new recruit and an elder linguistics scholar, Majime is tasked with a career-defining accomplishment: completing The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. On his journey, Majime discovers friendship, romance, and an incredible dedication to his work, inspired by the bond that connects us all: words....

Title : The Great Passage
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781477823071
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 222 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Great Passage Reviews

  • Pouting Always
    2019-04-26 15:18

    Kohei Araki has worked on dictionaries for all of his life and has a deep love for words and their various meanings. With his impending retirement, Araki must find a replacement to work on the dictionary that he has helped to start, an ambitious project undertaken by a department that is understaffed and underfunded. He soon meets Mitsuya Majime, discovered by another one of the staff members, who's quirks and eccentricities make him ideal for the job. I'm not sure if it's because this book is a translation, but I had a hard time getting into it. The characters were definitely amusing and I enjoyed the relationship between Masashi Nishioka and Majime the most. It was actually really great to see Nishioka's growth and though he's kind of a douche his relationship did make me smile, especially when he realizes he loves her and eventually seems to get past his previous emphasis on more shallow things like looks. Other than that though I did get bored while reading this book at a lot of parts. I especially was annoyed at the jump in years that felt like it came out of no where and when the new character, Midori Kishibe, is introduced. After that I had to force myself to keep reading, even though the book was still not that bad, I just had gotten into the characters and time line that was already established and felt irritated at this sudden jump. The book itself had some interesting aspects, especially those behind the meaning of language and the dynamics in many of the relationships. Plot wise though it felt sluggish and I wasn't really all that interested in seeing what would happen. Dictionary making is actually just as boring to read about as it sounds like it would be.

  • Melki
    2019-05-05 20:05

    A dictionary is a ship that crosses the sea of words.This is the surprisingly fascinating story one man's nearly impossible feat - to assemble a comprehensive dictionary. While I loved the bits about the planning of the dictionary: which words to cut, the choice of paper - not too thick, and not too thin - the story became bogged down with too much backstory, and too many characters' love lives. I'll mostly remember this one for the fantastic quotes I jotted down:Words and the human heart that creates them are absolutely free, with no connection to the powers that be.No matter how poor he was in communicating with people, with books he could engage in deep, quiet dialogue.

  • Helen
    2019-05-13 20:07

    How can a book about a small department at a publishing house creating a dictionary be so wonderful? Wrapped up in the main story about the creation of the dictionary there are three different stories about the people in the dictionary department. One is about a man who learns to connect with people, one is a woman who learns not to judge others, and the other is about a man who learns that it's ok to show that you care about things.The translator has done a great job. There is a lot of discussion about the meaning and origin of words and I'm impressed by how these have been translated from the original Japanese to still make sense in English. A couple of times I had to re-read paragraphs a few times to follow the meanings, but the majority of them were easy to follow.The geeky side of me enjoyed the bits about describing words and the look at how a dictionary is created. The three stories with their quirky characters provide a warm, human element that I could connect with.I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. It made me smile while I was reading it and even though the ending has some sad moments it left me happier and I'm glad I took a chance on it. Also, I love the cover!

  • Huy
    2019-04-26 23:11

    Cuốn sách nói về những người làm công việc biên soạn từ điển, nghe đã thấy chán, cộng thêm cái tiết tấu kể chuyện đều đều chậm rãi kéo dài suốt 20 năm mà chờ hoài chẳng thấy tiến lên chắc hẳn sẽ khiến ai đó thiếu kiên nhẫn nản lòng.Thế nhưng, "Người đan chữ xếp thuyền" lại khiến tôi đọc không dứt ra được, câu chuyện tưởng chừng không có chút gì hấp dẫn lại khiến tôi cảm động bởi cái sự giản dị của nó, cái cách tác giả kể câu chuyện một cách chân tình, không có cảm giác loè loẹt tô vẽ đã đi vào lòng tôi lúc nào chẳng hay. Cái tình yêu vô bờ bến của các nhân vật trong cuốn sách dành cho ngôn từ quả thực rất đáng ngưỡng mộ, họ sẵn sàng hy sinh thời gian, tiền bạc, tuổi trẻ của mình cho một công việc tưởng chừng không có hồi kết, thành quả thì ở xa tít tắp dễ khiến người ta bỏ cuộc. Và điều tác giả làm được, đó là khiến tôi tin tưởng rằng trong cuộc đời ngoài kia vẫn có những con người lặng lẽ âm thầm cống hiến cuộc đời của mình cho những công việc như thế, điều ấy không hiểu sao khiến tôi cảm thấy được an ủi vô cùng.

  • Chậu Tưởng Kí
    2019-05-12 18:15

    Đọc xong thấy tác giả đặt cái tựa sách quá sức ý nghĩa <3. Mỗi chương là lời của một "người đan chữ xếp thuyền" làm cho công việc biên soạn từ điển trở nên sống động và chân thật hơn. Mình rất thích chương nội tâm của Nishioka và chuyện tình của ảnh với Remi dù thật tình là không liên quan lắm. Đoạn cuối ảnh vui mừng vì được in tên lên phần dẫn của Daitokai thấy cưng ảnh gì đâu. Hây mọi người, vất vả rồi \m/Đọc xong biết thêm nhiều thứ hay ho ghê ví dụ cái miếng bọc ở ngoài sách (mình chẳng bao giờ vứt đi) gọi là obi :D ôi nhưng đối thoại còn nhiều chỗ kịch quá .____. người bình thường mà nói chuyện với mình như thế dù có đam mê cách mấy cũng nổi hết da gà lên thôi.

  • Valkyrie Vu
    2019-05-06 16:20

    Đọc xong cuốn này tự dưng có cảm hứng đọc từ điển :)) . Trước giờ dùng từ điển hoài nhưng chưa bao giờ thắc mắc xem chúng được tạo ra như thế nào .Đây là một trong số ít những cuốn sách mà mình ưng cái tựa . Rất giàu chất thơ . Tuy cái bìa không hiểu sao cứ làm mình liên tưởng hoài đến ngôn tình . :)) . Đây là cuốn sách lý tưởng của những người yêu ngôn từ vì nó nói về một đám người ngộ chữ tối ngày bơi trong những con chữ :)) . Trong truyện mình thích nhất là Nishioka , tuy lúc nào cũng bị miêu tả là hời hợt và phù phiếm nhưng xét ra lại là người có tâm và có tình nhất trong truyện . Hint của Majime vs Nishioka trong truyện hơi bị nhiều và hơi bị nặng đô làm con tim fangirl của mình suýt thì trụy mấy lần . :)) . Cái đoạn Nishioka đối phó với lão giảng viên mất dạy ý , mình chỉ muốn gào lên : THÂM TÌNH ĐÓ !!! BIỂU HIỆN CỦA TÌNH YÊU ĐÍCH THỰC ĐÓ . =)) Đọc cuốn này xong càng thấy khâm phục thêm tinh thần của người Nhật , làm việc không mệt mỏi và là những perfectionist đích thực <3.Một điều cuối mà mình rất thích ở cuốn này là nó rất thân thiện với LGBTQ. Mấy đoạn định nghĩa lại "tình yêu" với "giới tính" thực sự rất ý nghĩa vs người đọc là queer như mình <3 . Đoán chị tác giả là hủ :)))

  • Peter
    2019-05-17 18:20

    One of the benefits of owning a Kindle and having an Amazon Prime membership is that they give you a free book each month (from a selection of six). This month, I downloaded The Great Passage and was pleasantly surprised at its depth and sincerity. If you had told me that I'd enjoy reading a book about writing a dictionary, well I'd probably believe you. But this book is so much more than that.The Great Passage has two primary themes: the complexity of language and being passionate about a project.Language is all about trying to convey ones thoughts and feelings as accurately as possible. To do so, we must use the imperfect vehicle of words. Words have subtle nuances, differences in both connotation and denotation, that makes finding exactly the right word a challenge. When talking with a friend or writing a speech to be delivered before millions, we use our words to help others understand what we are thinking. Even now, as I write this review, I am cherrypicking my words to help you understand what I think about this book. Dictionaries, therefore, help us by allowing us to find words that can effectively share our message with as little misunderstanding as possible. But this is a constant battle between the gradual changes of language and the desire to keep things static. Any language is a complex and dynamical system. Over time, languages change and evolve as people use words in novel ways. And that is why we must constantly be on our guard for new words, and new ways of using words.The second theme Miura explores is how it feels to be truly passionate about something. In this story, the members of the team are all devoted to seeing the creation of their dictionary through to the very end. And that kind of enthusiasm can be infectious when shared correctly. Even for doing something like reading through definitions of thousands of words, if you love the work, it will be truly enjoyable. And it's more than just enjoying the work itself. If the people around you are enthusiastic and help teach you their joy, you can partake of it too.Ultimately, I greatly enjoyed reading this book. Japanese is a nuanced language, with a great amount of wordplay. The translator did an excellent job of explaining the meanings of things without interrupting the narrative flow. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in communication, be it written or spoken.Some of my favorite quotes from the book:"Gathering a huge number of words together with as much accuracy as possible was like finding a mirror without distortion. The less distortion in the word-mirror, the greater chance that when you opened up to someone and revealed your inner self, your feelings and thoughts would be reflected there with clarity and depth. You could look together in the mirror and laugh, weep, get angry.""Awakening to the power of words—the power not to hurt others but to protect them, to tell them things, to form connections with them—had taught her to probe her own mind and inclined her to make allowances for other people’s thoughts and feelings.""He says that memories are words. A fragrance or a flavor or a sound can summon up an old memory, but what’s really happening is that a memory that had been slumbering and nebulous becomes accessible in words."

  • Calzean
    2019-04-26 22:30

    A fascinating and entertaining story of a small group of dedicated people who worked over 15 years to produce a new Japanese dictionary. I especially enjoyed the sections where there was a debate about a specific term or word, which highlighted the nuances of the Japanese language, are truly gobsmacking. I now fear writing any word knowing how easily the meaning could be misunderstood.The complexities of producing a Japanese dictionary including the five proofs, type of paper, editing to fit definitions on a page, choosing which words to include or not, maintaining currency of words all made the book a fascinating read.The book also was a feel good story as it delved in the editor, his staff, and their relationships to show that lexicographers may be oddballs but are people with immense skills, quirky personalities and an attention to detail that is formidable.

  • Quang
    2019-04-22 19:27

    Tiểu thuyết Nhật đầu tiên của mình!Các bạn có bao giờ tự hỏi là trên một tủ sách tập hợp tất cả các loại sách thì cuốn nào là ... cô đơn nhất không? Đúng rồi đó, từ điển cô đơn nhất. Nó không có được sự lôi cuốn theo mạch truyện của truyện trinh thám, không có được những tình tiết dựng tóc gáy của truyện ma, và càng không có được những khoảnh khắc lãng mạn của ngôn tình, tiểu thuyết lãng mạn... Từ điển - một tập hợp toàn chữ và chữ, đôi khi là hình minh họa (bây giờ đã có từ điển tranh ảnh) thì mở cuốn từ điển ra ta chỉ có ném lại nó một cụm từ : vừa nặng vừa chán. Ta chỉ tìm tới từ điển khi thực sự bế tắc trong việc cắt nghĩa một từ trong tiếng mẹ đẻ hoặc ngôn ngữ thứ hai, thứ ba chúng ta đang theo học. Còn không, cuốn từ điển nặng như chì ấy sẽ bị vứt vào xó cho đến khi đóng bụi. Bụi sẽ càng dày hơn trong thời đại số, các app từ điển trên smartphone cũng như các trang web từ điển online miễn phí đã trở nên thông dụng. Cô đơn lại càng thêm hiu quạnh !Thế nhưng, cuốn sách "Người đan chữ xếp thuyền" cho tôi một cái nhìn khác, một cái nhìn nhân văn hơn và trân trọng hơn với từ điển bởi đằng sau tập sách dày cộp toàn chữ ấy, chính là bao công sức. tâm huyết, thời gian, sự hi sinh cá nhân thầm lặng cho đam mê của một người hay một nhóm người quyết chí cống hiến cho đại dương ngôn ngữ bao la vô tận. Cuốn sách kể về một nhóm người biên tập từ điển và nhân vật chính là một anh chàng có cái tên nghe phát biết luôn tính cách: Majime (tiếng Nhật có nghĩa là siêng năng và cũng có nghĩa là nghiêm túc). Ở anh hội tụ các phẩm chất phù hợp với công việc biên soạn từ điển. Sau khi được phát hiện ra tố chất và thuyên chuyển công tác về Phòng biên soạn từ điển, hành trình gian khổ làm nên cuốn từ điển Daitokai của anh Siêng Năng bắt đầu. Cũng từ đó, tác giả tường tận vẽ ra cho người đọc thấy từng phân đoạn nhỏ trong quá trình biên soạn từ điển nó khó khăn và gian khổ như thế nào trong 15 năm trời. Từ những việc nhỏ nhặt như note các từ vựng mới vào thẻ mẫu câu, sắp xếp thẻ, soạn bản thảo, ngoại giao với các giảng viên ngôn ngữ nhờ họ giúp hoàn thành bản thảo, đọc morat, sửa morat, kiểm duyệt, làm bìa, thương thảo với công ty giấy để chọn ra mẫu giấy "cực phẩm" phù hợp với quyển từ điển ( đây là phần làm mình hứng thú nhất), cân bằng ngân sách , và cả những vấn đề như bị đì, bị dị nghị cho việc làm từ điển quá tốn kém tiền bạc các kiểu ... Nếu quyển sách chỉ có thế thì nghe qua sẽ cực kì chán vì chả khác những video How It's Made trên channel khoa học phải không? Cái làm nên sự khác biệt cho cuốn tiểu thuyết này chính là tác giả đã thổi hồn, những tâm hồn sinh động, nhân văn và đậm chất văn hóa Nhật Bản vào trong những nhân vật phải làm những công việc cực kì nhàm chán, khô khan ở Phòng từ điển. Vượt qua những đặc điểm tẻ nhạt, dở tệ trong giao tiếp, và có phần hơi lập dị mà người người vấn gán cho các thành viên làm công việc biên soạn từ điển, suốt ngày cắm mặt vào các con chữ, thì ở trong sâu con tim họ đó là những ngọn lửa luôn cháy bỏng khát khao làm bạn với từ ngữ để một ngày họ có thể dừng từ ngữ truyền tải tâm tình mà bấy lâ bị nén kín vì những hạn chế trong giao tiếp, cho người họ quan tâm, yêu thương. Cũng từ đó, cùng sự phát triển mạch truyện, những tình cảm hết sức mộc mạc, chân thành giữa người với người được vẽ nên qua những hành động từ nhỏ nhất cho tới thiêng liêng vô cùng. Từ cái nháy mắt đáng yêu của bà chủ nhà Take, cho tới tập thư tình độc nhất vô nhị của ông ngố Majime, hay là bữa ăn khuya hiếm hoi của đôi vợ chồng Majime - Kaguya, hay bức thư cảm ơn đầy xúc động của thầy Matsumoto... Tất cả những chi tiết ấy, làm nên 2 cuốn từ điển lớn đáng ngưỡng mộ. Một cuốn từ điển quốc ngữ Nhật Bản Daitokai dày 2900 trang và một cuốn từ điển về tình người dày 384 trang.---Nhận xét ngắn về cách dịch của dịch giả Nguyễn Kim Hoàng: cực kì thích cách dịch này vì khi đọc cá nhân mình thấy không có dấu vết của việc chuyển ngữ mà như thể đây là do một tác giả người Việt viết vậy. Mình nghĩ đây là điều làm mình ưng nhất ở bản tiếng Việt của cuốn sách này.*Tái bút: 14 ngày cho quyển này vì khúc giữa hơi chán, nhưng chương cuối đã làm nên tất cả. 5 sao cũng vì chương cuối !

  • Satomi
    2019-04-23 21:16

    I downloaded this book with using the benefit of "Kindle First" in May 2017. I was curious how it is translated into English, since this book cannot be discussed without Japanese words and phrases. Brilliant!! The translation is so great and flawless. I read this one with both in original Japanese and the translation, the feel is the same. I want to recommend this book to all the non-Japanese people, and I would like to hear what they think!!

  • Trâm Nguyễn
    2019-05-17 17:11

    Thay vì nói đây là câu chuyện xoay quanh Majime, chi bằng nói đây là một câu chuyện của những con người, những tấm lòng cùng nhau làm nên một quyển từ điển.Mạch truyện mở đâu hơi chán, vì tâm lý ngay từ đầu lại nghĩ từ điển thôi mà, sao lại có thể phát cuồng vì nó đến vậy? Chưa kể tác giả còn lồng vào mấy cái quy trình của công việc biên tập từ điển, trong 100 trang đầu mình đọc thật sự mệt. Kiểu, mọi thứ cứ đều đều, không có cái gì để mong chờ.Nhưng mà càng về sau, mình nghĩ mình đã bị cảm hoá. Cảm hoá bởi lòng nhiệt thành, nhiệt huyết và sự nỗ lực bền bỉ của tất cả nhân vật trong truyện.Trải qua 12 năm học phổ thông, đến khi tốt nghiệp cấp 3 rồi, quay đầu nhìn lại, mình thật muốn thở dài một hơi. Nhưng mà, tưởng tượng được không, làm một quyển từ điển kéo dài 15 năm.Là gần hai thập kỷ.Tuổi xuân con người được bao lâu, đời người được bao năm. Vậy mà những con người này thật sự dùng 15 năm cuộc đời mình để làm ra một quyển từ điển bằng tất cả nhiệt tình, chuyên nghiệp, sự cẩn thận, tỉ mỉ. 15 năm này, họ cống hiến trọn vẹn.Rồi cũng trong 15 năm này, có những chuyện này chuyện kia xảy ra cũng khá đáng yêu, có mấy chuyện tình ngốc ngốc, có anh chàng kia từng bước trưởng thành, có anh chàng nọ tìm được hạnh phúc.Thật sự ấm áp và cảm động ~

  • Diana
    2019-05-11 15:05

    Short, adorable story with quirky characters. The author is very descriptive about the process of dictionary making and clearly has done her research. For my taste, there was a bit more about the dictionary process than required and I would have liked more of the interaction among the characters. Beautiful cover.

  • Hiệp Lê Tuấn
    2019-04-27 20:15

    Cuốn sách của lòng đam mê, nhiệt huyết, vượt qua mọi khó khăn để hoàn thành ước mơ, tình yêu với ngôn từ.

  • Bri
    2019-05-02 22:29

    Holy flipsicles, this is probably going to be one of my favorite books of the year, and I literally stumbled across it on accident. I was looking around NetGalley for my "second" (the real second title was a bust) title to review, and I liked the description of this book, so I picked it up.The book is narrated by multiple characters, each story revolving around the creation of The Great Passage, a "comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language." My favorite narrator is by far Mitsuya Majime. He is completely scatterbrained but passionate about his work.First, I love quirky people who have really complex thought processes and people who seek to examine the world through a different lens. Some of the thoughts in this book resonated with me as things that I think about, but can't figure out how to express. It was really refreshing to hear people talking about how lonely a Ferris Wheel is, or wonder about things like "What if the interior of a room mirrors the interior of its inhabitant?""Thinking is no problem, but conveying my thoughts to other people is hard for me. The simple truth is, I just don't fit in." THIS. IS. ME.Also, all of the main characters are well rounded. You get to peek into their lives and see what goes on behind the scenes of the dictionary work. The plot isn't very complex, you're literally following through the entire creation of the dictionary to publication, but I was enamored by the everyday lives and thoughts that the characters had. I think Shion Miura and Juliet Winters-Carpenter did a fantastic job working together and I would definitely read other works by the two of them.

  • Huyền
    2019-05-23 16:29

    Mua sách vì ấn tượng cái tên của nó, "Người đan chữ xếp thuyền". Đọc xong mới thấy thực sự tâm đắc với cái tên này, quá phù hợp với câu chuyện vềnhững người làm biên soạn từ điển cũng như tình yêu sâu sắc của họ với ngôn ngữ. Điều đó được tác giả diễn tả một cách nhẹ nhàng, chân thực mà vô cùng cảm động. Nhìn bìa thì có vẻ như là truyện tiểu thuyết lãng mạn , thế nhưng, tuy rằng có lồng ghép các chi tiết về chuyện tình cảm của các nhân vật nhưng nó không phải là điều chính làm nên giá trị tác phẩm. Mình thực sự rất ngưỡng mộ, trân trọng và biết ơn sâu sắc tới những con người ấy, những người đã tạo nên con thuyền từ điển giúp cho chúng ta có thể vượt biển ngôn từ bao la dễ dàng hơn. Cuốn sách đã giúp mình nhận ra giá trị của từ điển, trước giờ mình vẫn hay dùng nhưng không để tâm đến nó. Tự dưng muốn đi mua ngay một quyển từ điển. :)Mình đặc biệt thích nhân vật Nishioka, cảm thấy có chút tiếc nuối khi cuối cùng anh đã không về phòng Biên tập Từ điển cùng với Majime. Về đi còn giúp Majime gọt bút chì chứ. :(

  • Ms.pegasus
    2019-05-11 22:21

    Surprising relationships emerge out of the recondite labors of a team of dedicated lexicographers editing a new comprehensive dictionary dubbed THE GREAT PASSAGE (Dai tokai). The minutiae of new entries to consider, old entries to be re-evaluated, etymologies to be verified and mini-encyclopedic nuances of usage to be detailed are surprisingly appealing in the hands of this author. Such details consume the characters in this book 24/7. Is it possible that such an obsession can fill the deep-seated yearnings of a lifetime?Shion Miura communicates her passion for words with unexpected persuasiveness in this quiet novel. She animates her characters with beguiling curiosity, not only about language, but the way they view themselves and their connection to the world. The dictionary is“a ship bearing the souls of people traveling from ancient times toward the future, across the ocean rich with words.” (p.200) Past, present and future lives are connected by the restless transformation of words.Miura's characters are not complicated; the paradoxes she considers are planted in her narrative. Professor Matsumoto advises his staff to combine intellectual with experiential learning in editing the dictionary. Yet, he admits, having spent most of his life in academics and publishing, he has little experience of the world. Mitsuya Majime is a scrupulous investigator of words. Yet, he admits to himself that thinking is easier than speaking; his problems communicating might actually be a powerful motivation for his interest.The novel is divided into five sections, each section shifting in viewpoint. These shifts deepen our sense of emotional depth in the characters. The book opens with an aging Kohei Araki recalling the moment he received his first dictionary. It was a graduation present when he was an adolescent. He developed a critical and appreciative eye:“...the book as a whole was the result of people puzzling over their choices. What patience they must have, what deep attachment to words!” (p.3) After 37 years of labor, his retirement looms. His spirits lift when he believes he has found the ideal successor to fill his position. The candidate is at first glance an unlikely choice. Mitsuya Majime is an awkward shy misfit in the publishing house's sales department. He cannot even pour a glass of beer without slopping it over the rim due to his nervousness. Chapter 2 follows Majime's development from self-conscious neophyte to empathetic professional. His own commitment encourages a relationship with Kaguya Hayashi who aspires to be a master chef. Chapter 3 opens from the point of view of Nishioka, Majime's cocky gregarious colleague. It is an interesting shift because up to this point he has been depicted as a shallow-thinking slacker. Chapter 4 shifts to yet another character, Midori Kishibe, whose struggle to fit in is depicted in tandem with severe bouts of dust allergy.Much of the charm of this book is due to its subtle sense of humor. At a staff get together at a nearby restaurant, Araki tries to kick Nishioka under the table to curb his inappropriate joking:“Majime let out a yelp. Someone had just kicked his shin. Across the table, Araki was glaring at Nishioka, apparently trying to tell him to knock it off. He must have aimed at Nishioka's shin and kicked Majime by mistake.” (p.39) An ongoing joke riffs off a turgid love letter Majime writes. It is filled with obscure characters and classical Chinese poetry so vague that not only must Kaguya struggle to translate it, even then she is unsure what he means. Thanks to the efforts of the translator, Majime's issues over word meaning take on unexpected drama. For example, he struggles with the distinction between 'noburu' and 'agaru'. Both were verbs meaning 'to ascend', but they were not used interchangeably. These passages certainly must have had added liveliness for Japanese readers. The pace of this book is slow but rewarding. The setting is in the pre-digital era when work was organized on files and files of index cards, and the printed product was an aesthetic masterpiece. Through their work, each character stumbles on an epiphany of self-revelation. The author no doubt hopes that the reader will encounter the same feelings about language from reading this book.“Gathering a huge number of words together with as much accuracy as possible was like finding a mirror without distortion. The less distortion in the word-mirror, the greater chance that when you opened up to someone and revealed your inner self, your feelings and thoughts would be reflected there with clarity and depth. You could look together in the mirror and laugh, weep, get angry.” (p.143) Words matter.This was a free offering through the Kindle Prime program. It was a pleasant surprise to find such a hidden gem.NOTES:The book has been adapted into an anime TV series (2016), and a movie (2013) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2315226/Interview with the translator, Juliet Winters Carpenterhttps://intralingo.com/spotlight-on-l...Article by the translator on literary translations:https://theconversation.com/absorbed-...

  • ☕Laura
    2019-05-21 21:28

    This was a sweet, engaging book, but I think it probably lost a lot in translation. There was a lot of word-play which probably would have been very clever in the original Japanese but lost something in having to be explicitly explained. Definitely an enjoyable read though, and the insights into the process of creating a dictionary were very interesting.Ratings (1 to 5)Writing: 3Plot: 3Characters: 3Emotional impact: 4Overall rating: 3.25

  • Paul
    2019-05-11 23:15

    Actual rating: 4.5 stars.Clearly, I've been reading too many mysteries and thrillers, where every new object or action introduced into the story comes back later in some significant way. In real life ... and Japanese novels ... the second thing does not necessarily follow. Just one example: at several points in the story, Nishioka brags about how easily he could move in on Kaguya, the woman his seemingly timid co-worker Majime loves. He finds a love letter to Kaguya on Majime's desk, reads it, and makes a copy. Aha, I thought, he's going to do something awful with that copy.Not so. Nishioka stays out of Majime's way, and the copy doesn't come into play until the epilog, when Nishioka and Kishibe, the woman hired to replace Nishioka after he transferred to another department in the publishing house, read it together in a strangely affecting passage that moved me deeply.Is it coincidence I read and loved a non-fiction book about the making of dictionaries, Kory Stamper's "Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries," just last month? As a word lover, I learned much from Stamper's book. I have to say I learned at least as much about dictionaries from Miura's novel (have you ever thought about the paper dictionaries are printed on?). Along the way I learned a great deal more about Japan and the Japanese, the language and the people.Mostly, though, I was swept up and away by a beautifully-told story about people passionately dedicated to their professions and to one another. This is one of the most enjoyable novels I've read in a long time.

  • David Haws
    2019-05-03 22:17

    This seems fairly typical of the few dozen Japanese novels I’ve read—long on character and short on plot. As with a lot of Japanese fiction, there are frisky cats, passively compliant women, and nerdy men passionately pursuing some all-consuming work (頑張っていて) that interest few people other than those initiated. I’m sure it will make a fine Japanese film. When the author is female, I always wonder is the girlie-sounding males are unintentional, but while most of her characters are male, there is a lot of 私, the only 僕 is coming from Nishioka, and I’m not picking up any 俺 at all.

  • Meredith Reads
    2019-04-25 20:17

    This was one of the free books offered by Kindle First a couple of months ago. I selected it simply because my son has been studied Japanese and has done a study abroad in Western Japan. He had written a fascinating paper on Japanese architecture which fostered a slight interest in Japanese culture within me. I am so glad this little book came into my life. At first blush, the book doesn't promise to amount to much. It's a book about creating a dictionary. It is so much more than that, though. It's a book about love, passion, living, working for something bigger than oneself, being satisfied with life...personal acceptance. The book covers 15 years of the DED and its employees as they struggle to bring The Great Passage (the dictionary) into existence. I struggled a bit with how to pronounce the Japanese names and terms and I am sure I was incorrect more often than not (I really should have asked my son how to pronounce the words) but the translation was easy to read and did not detract from the richness of the book.

  • Brian
    2019-05-11 22:02

    This is a warm, gentle, and humorous book that celebrates the power of words to create and nurture friendship, love, and respect. The story centers on a small group of dedicated colleagues at a Japanese publishing company who are engaged in the long and laborious process of putting together The Great Passage, a new dictionary. While several of those involved have chosen (or been chosen) for the work because of their passion for words and language, others who work on the project, like Midori Kishibe, initially have little affinity for the task.But words are powerful, as Miss Kishibe discovers: "Working on the dictionary, delving into words the way we do, has changed me, she thought. Awakening to the power of words—the power not to hurt others but to protect them, to tell them things, to form connections with them—had taught her to probe her own mind and inclined her to make allowances for other people’s thoughts and feelings."I enjoyed this short book very much, and I recommend it highly to anyone who has a passion for words and language. The characters are quite likable, albeit quirky, and the book provides a small glimpse into a slice of Japanese life that I found to be very interesting.

  • Kate Klassa
    2019-05-04 22:11

    The Great Passage has a seemingly boring plotline - three generations of publishing house staff work to create a new dictionary and encounter difficulties along the way - but is actually an amusing, interesting story. The story goes through the inner workings of how a dictionary is created: how to make something that encompasses all needed information while still being different from past works, how to decide what is too archaic to keep and what is modern enough for a new definition, how the pages are set and the material to print on is made, etc. For those who love books about books, this is a good one. My only two complaints are (1) the characters, particularly the female characters, are barely fleshed out and (2) all of the characters seem immature for their age (could be due to either the original work or the translation; it's hard to say).Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Con Bé Ki
    2019-05-21 17:12

    Muốn nói Anh yêu Em, mà hình như là ngại em đồng ý, nên phải vẽ vời đủ thứ các định nghĩa, dài tới 15 trang, thậm chí lên tới tận cung trăng, để hoàn thành cuốn từ điển tình yêu trong đó ngoài Anh yêu Em, còn có Chúng ta yêu ngôn từ. Hi hi hi.

  • Melissa Joulwan
    2019-05-07 16:18

    This is a very sweet book that speaks lovingly of the power of words and the emotions behind them. Not much happens—a group of people work for more than a decade on a new dictionary called The Great Passage—but everything happens: people fall in love, live and die, feel things, question themselves and others, succeed and fail. Just when it seems like it might get too precious, there's a a touch of sarcastic humor that makes the characters seem more real. I also really enjoyed the food descriptions that added a richness to the story without drawing undue attention to themselves.The details of the process of making the dictionary in the story made me wish I knew more about the Japanese language; the detail with which the characters examine words and meaning is fascinating, and it made me curious about how English dictionaries are made... which sent me down an internet rabbit hole. If you're curious, too, here are a few interesting links:5 Behind the Scenes Secrets of How the Dictionary is Made (Mental Floss)How our dictionaries are created (Oxford Dictionaries)A Journey Into the Merriam-Webster Word Factory (NY Times)And a few books that are now on my TBR list: Defining the World: The Extraordinary Story of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary

  • Cristina
    2019-05-17 23:26

    I rarely pick up a book that wasn’t recommended by someone I trust, but I decided to give this one a try based on its description on NetGalley. As an avid reader, a story based around the making of a dictionary seemed interesting to me! It took several tries to get into the story, but once I did I found it to be delightful. Translated from Japanese, the story centers around a man called Majime, who is the main contributor to the creation of this dictionary. There is a bit of romance, banter, and a lot of discussion on words. I hadn’t thought about what it took to create a concise and wholistic definition of a word, but I learned it certainly is not easy! The book has 5 chapters and each chapter was from the perspective of a different person working on this dictionary. This was my favorite part about the book. I love learning that a character is not who he seems to be on the outside when you get in his/her head. Since this was originally written in Japanese, some of the discussion on words was specific to Japanese. The translator did a good job explaining it to an English audience, and most of the Japanese-specific word explanations made sense, but a couple were a bit harder to understand.Why do dictionaries matter so much to Majime? Dictionaries and defining words plays a big role in being understood by others. The better and more universal definitions we have, the better chance we have at being understood. But as these characters experience new relationships, they learn sometimes you can never “come up with the right words.” Thank you to AmazonCrossing for allowing me to read an ARC of this book.

  • Kristin
    2019-04-28 20:27

    This is the story of an aging dictionary editor and his successor as they work with a publishing company to complete a new Japanese dictionary. The story is not dramatic or exciting in any traditional sense. My biggest criticism would be the lack of character development. The characters are very one dimensional and we don't get to explore the depths of their personalities. Of course I am reading this book in translation; I cannot speak for the original Japanese. Overall I was drawn to the story because I am a lexical lover myself, but if the reader is seeking a riveting plot I think they will find "The Great Passage" a let down. There are several short passages that are beautifully written (translated) but in general the writing is slightly bland. 3 stars because I am a sucker for word nerds.

  • Teresita
    2019-05-03 21:14

    It is a really lovely book. It is also a quick read. If you are a lover of books or book making I think you will enjoy this story. I will admit that at first I thought it was weird that it was about creating a dictionary. I thought the book was also very sweet and had a wonderful story line. There is some Japanese used throughout the book, but for the most part it is explained within the text. However, if you know little or nothing about Japan I do recomend looking up some stuff to enhance your reading experience (for example food and things like that). Having lived in Japan, I think made me enjoy some of the cultural references and environment the book portrays.

  • Anatl
    2019-05-07 15:10

    A novel about people dedicated to the creation of a dictionary. This book is filled with lovely observations on the role language plays in our lives, a how words are necessary for creativity not only in the literary field but in every aspect of life; how meaning is elusive and changeable, or how one word can have different meanings. It was an engrossing read despite having the most mundane of subjects, and it also lights up aspects of dictionary production I've never paid attention to, like the choice of paper, ink and binding.

  • Karla
    2019-05-10 16:15

    I love words. Not with the single-minded devotion attributed to some of the characters in this book, but I do love words. I love finding the precise word with the perfect meaning and nuance. This book describes the compilation of a dictionary (The Great Passage), and the lives of those associated with it. Ms. Carpenter's translation was well executed. I liked that in certain places, the Japanese words are maintained with a description. I liked that this book was full of words. Not just your standard words, but WORDS. Ones with meaning, ones with layers, ones overlooked or discarded in favor of more common words. I enjoyed seeing into a culture different from my own. If you blush, as I do, about intimate scenes, there are perhaps a couple that may cause you discomfort. However, there is no detail offered and you quickly read about things more pertinent to the story. This story takes a variety of people with distinct talents and ambitions who join together and bring about something truly remarkable. It was a pleasant read.

  • Mary Kay
    2019-05-22 15:24

    After many books with high emotional, sexual or violent undertones, this was a pleasant surprise. It allowed me to peek into Japanese culture, which I know woefully little about. And, as an educator, I appreciated the gentle way a young man, somewhere-on-the-autistic-scale, was portrayed and celebrated. If you are looking for high adventure, look elsewhere. If you love language, words and perseverance, check this out.