I’ve been in TV mode for the past month or so, and I just finished the first season of Fargo, the television adaptation of the Coen Brothers movie. I’m slightly tired of the bad-guy-as-superman story, even though I liked Billy Bob Thornton’s performance a lot. The acting was fabulous, it felt like a Coen Brothers movie without being boring (the tone, the artistic shots), and for some reason the artificiality didn’t bother me.
For something a bit more realistic though it’s quite old (published in 1921 and 1915), I read a pair of short stories by Akutagawa, “In a Grove,” and “Rashomon,” both of which inspired the 1951 film Rashomon. The plot comes from In a Grove, and a couple elements in the movie come from the story Rashomon. “In a Grove” is a short story told from multiple perspectives about the murder of a samurai and the rape of his wife, and it’s an incredibly unsettling and unresolved story. Unreliable narrators all around in a distilled story. I haven’t seen the movie yet, and I felt I should read the story for crime fiction’s sake and just because I’ve been aware of the story for years.