Generational Stories: Some Thoughts
I've read two novels now, translated to English from Japanese, that seem to form a very strange genre, or perhaps its better described as a unique way of telling the story. The best thing I can think to call them are generational stories. Here are my thoughts.
Both of the stories here have the same style, one I've never seen before: Segmented into different parts following the different generations of a family. I suppose the main benefit of telling a story in this form is that you can build up an overall Arc of a story by smaller parts, focusing on new characters each time and connecting everything together by family ties.
The first of the generational stories I read was Belka, why don't you bark? by Hideo Furukawa, a rather strange introduction to this style of storytelling. It follows a dog, its offspring, and then the entire (and I mean entire) family tree for the next few generations, interspersed with the tale of Russian and Japanese mafiosos.
I find that Belka quickly spiralled into a bit of an uncontrollable story, what with dogs having so many pups in each litter. I can understand that that would lead to many different tales to be told, which indeed seems to be the point of this story, but it makes it so hard to keep track of, and kind of dilutes any attachment you can make to the characters.
Belka made a fair number of its sub-stories quite a focus on military matters, covering the conflicts in the latter half of the 20th century. I just don't find that incredibly interesting...