Book Reviews

Book Review: Motions and Moments by Michael Pronko



This book was reviewed for the Online Book Club


Moments and Motions is a collection of essays by Michael Pronko, a Western transplant to Tokyo, where he teaches at university, and writes essays on life in the techno-sprawl that is Japan’s capital city. The book is broken into several sections, each with a distinct theme- Surfaces, Miniatures, Constructs, Quaking, and Serenities.


Pronko’s collection is a beautiful tapestry of cultural awareness. He displays a willingness to learn about and embrace the culture he has chosen to live in. I love reading about other cultures, immersing myself in them. I more favour ancient Japanese history/culture than modern, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection. I will say, they did help me realise, with my demophobia, that I should never visit modern Tokyo, with its vast population, and perpetual crowds. Likewise, I wouldn’t be able to cope with sensory overload. However, I enjoyed reading his accounts. I used to teach and design classes on different cultures to promote cultural awareness, learn to embrace other cultures, and often prep to visit different cultures. If I still taught, Pronko’s book would become required reading.


I really liked the Wallace Stevens poem at the beginning of Epigraph. It expresses a very Japanese sentiment. I did find the word ‘Tokyoites’ to be very grating, though. It just didn’t have a proper flow to my ears or mind.
????? Highly recommended

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