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“Variations On a Theme By Mister Donut“ by David Mitchell

David Mitchell is a noted English author and has written 9 novels together with many short stories.

I was drawn to the title of the story from the start. Mister Donut was in it. Yes, that beloved (?) Mister Donut. When I was small, my grandmother used to buy donuts from there for my brother and me, the same donuts all the time. Donuts could evoke good old memories. This story has instead left a rather bitter taste and was yet a great story to discover. The story unfolds at a Mister Donut at 21:45. Time plays a very important role in this story and from that pivotal point, the different perspectives of each character unspool. One of the main characters is an old man with dementia. One day, he wanders off to a nearby donut shop and waits to be served in vain, after which comes the tableau. Aging society, patriarchy, prejudice, the collapse of the bubble economy, Fukushima, and discrimination are all embedded in this short story. The problems faced by different generations are masterfully spelled out. This story is in the end a story of miscommunication. A Mister Donut is compared to the hotel which appears in Ogai Mori’s “Under Reconstruction”. Ogai compared the Japan in the Meiji era to the hotel under reconstruction. Ironically and symbolically, now at this donut chain, everything disintegrates. One memorable character is a nurse who doesn’t have a name. She’s the bridge among different generations and acts in an altruistic way, which represents hope. I really enjoyed discussing this story. We’ll be discussing a story by Kyoko Nakajima on November 20!

If you want to discover new stories or authors (all contemporary), join us!

If you haven’t taken my classes yet, you can try one class for free as well.


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