Miyamoto Teru has established a considerable and devoted following in Japan, and is rapidly building a devoted readership in other Asian countries and parts of Europe as his fiction is translated into various languages. With only a few of his works currently available in English, however, Anglophone readers have for the most part been unaware of the "Teru" literary phenomenon. This book brings together his most famous work, the superlative Rivers Sequence: "Muddy River," which was published in 1977 and won the 78th Akutagawa Prize; "River of Fireflies," published the following year and promptly winning the 13th Dazai Osamu Prize; and "River of Lights," also published in 1978 but later extensively rewritten and expanded into a novel. All three works have been released as major films in Japan.
Kojima Nobuo is best-known in English for his outstanding novella, "Amerikan sukuuru" (1954, "The American School"), which earned the Akutagawa Prize that year. Strongly affected by World War II and the postwar era, his style evolved into a powerful, often painfully honest satire depicting the Japanese male as a Milquetoast, under the thumbs of women and society in general. Influenced by Gogol and other giants of Russian literature, Kojima's style and technique immerse the reader in the doubts and dilemmas of his characters to powerful effect.
Masaharu Anesaki (1873-1949) was a leading member of Japans most interesting generation: the second generation of Meiji scholars, who lived in a highly-educated if not rarefied world that blended Japanese and Western traditions in a way that made them unique in their countrys long history.
Following our first-English publication of Hanatsumi nikki, his neglected classic of travel writing, philosophy, history, and comparative religion, we are delighted to be able to offer the second volume of his fascinating examination of America, Europe, and India in the very first years of the 20th century. For scholars and general readers both, here is a glimpse into the mind of modern Japan as it stood at the crossroads of modernity, and a look into a very different, and gentler, West viewed through Japanese eyes.
Oh, Tama! takes the reader deep into the haphazard lives of Natsuyuki, the protagonist, and his loosely connected circle of dysfunctional acquaintances and family. Trying to keep some semblance of order and decency in his life, working as an occasional freelance photographer, Natsuyuki is visited by his delinquent friend Alexandre, who unexpectedly entrusts him with his sister's pregnant cat, Tama. Despite his initial protests, Natsuyuki accepts his new responsibility and cares compassionately for Tama and her kittens.
Scholars and fans often divide the career of Dazai Osamu (1909–1948) into three periods—early, middle, and late. The early and late periods tend to get all the attention, but in fact Dazai was at his very best in the middle period, which corresponds roughly to the years of the Pacific War. All the stories in this collection, with the exception of the early "Romanesque," were written during that time.
Presenting a new collection of stories exploring the perennial themes of Miyamoto Teru's fiction, narrative sketches of the working-class world of the Osaka-Kobe region of his childhood employing memory to reveal a story in layered frames of time with consummate skill. His work examines the mutual proximity—or even the identity—of life and death, often touching on such grim topics with a touch of humor. Stories of personal triumph and hope are often set in situations involving death, illness, or loss, but what might be the stuff of tragedy in the hands of some writers turns into stepping stones for his characters to climb upward and onward.
Momotarō, Click-Clack Mountain, The Sparrow Who Lost Her Tongue, The Stolen Wen, Urashima-san . . . The father reads these old tales to the children. Though he's shabbily dressed and looks to be a complete fool, this father is a singular man in his own right. He has an unusual knack for making up stories.
Once upon a time, long, long ago . . .
Even as he reads the picture book aloud in a strangely imbecilic voice, another, somewhat more elaborate tale is brewing inside him.
This fascinating fictional account of the life and times of Lafcadio Hearn probes the question: "What was the nature of this man, born wanderer, informant of the fiendish details of Japanese lore ... a man who chose to live his life 'in defiance of the season'?"
This collection has come into being out of the conviction that the short stories of Yoshiyuki Junnosuke, if they were made accessible in English under one cover, would certainly be appreciated and enjoyed abroad as they have been in Japan. The prolific Yoshiyuki Junnosuke has left us a vast body of literature, a feast of short stories, novels, novellas, essays on a wide range of topics, translations from English, and light fiction whose function is simply to entertain. An edition of his complete works published in 1983, eleven years before death stilled his pen, came to 20 volumes.
Yoshiyuki Junnosuke was a sensual writer, whose style is reminiscent of that of novelists such as Tanizaki Jun'ichirō and Nagai Kafū. His works deal with the possibility of emotional purity in the relationships between men and women. Often, the relationship is examined through the agency of the protagonist's association with prostitutes.
On a strange train journey, in a series of six compartments, a traveler experiences unpredictable encounters, culminating in a meeting of epiphanic power. Through a narrative of dreamlike sharpness Compartments taps into the fears and absurdities, the beauties and mysteries of the unconscious mind, to achieve a consummation both moving and full of hope.
This volume also contains the novella "The Square," an uplifting meditation on the restorative power of Art and "The Teashop," a superb new novelette about storytelling and the miraculous weavings of Fate, as well as two short stories, "The Telephone" and "First Photograph."
In what strange edifice of the imagination do you find a condemned cell, a hotel room and a hospital room? What kind of hotel offers a zinc mine, a meat-packing plant, a weapons factory and a cemetery of famous artists among its attractions? Why do four people commit suicide in the same bathroom and why does a literature professor cut up several of the greatest works of literature into a confetti of letters? In this wildly imaginative, wildly funny satire on Art and Death nothing is quite what it seems and the maze of symbols grows more complex with each encounter.
A cycle of six thematically linked stories, droll renditions of the nightmares ensuing upon misplaced, or (of course) excessive, bibliophilia. A writer encounters a website where all his possible future books are on display; a lonely man faces an infinite flow of hardback books through his mailbox; an ordinary library turns by night into an archive of souls; the Devil sets about raising standards of infernal literacy; one book houses all books; a connoisseur of hardcovers strives to expel a lone paperback from his collection.
- Winner of the 2003 World Fantasy Award
- Longlisted for 2004 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
In this suite of eight stories, the three ages of woman—youth, midlife and senescence—engage in a complex and fruitful dance. A young Miss Tamara is lured by a series of postcards concealed in library books. A middle-aged Miss Tamara discovers that her new reading glasses turn the pages blank. An afternoon's reading is disturbed by the realization that all books have turned fatally toxic. A mysterious phone call leads to a book which blinds its readers but also to romance. Woven through these seemingly simple narratives are deep themes of youth and ageing, memory and loss, solitude and companionship, and the relationship between the physical and the mental life. Above all this is a book about reading: its pleasures, rituals, essential preciousness. Reading as an obsession which can not only isolate, but also lead to discovery and love.
Ten linked stories with resonant titles explore almost every conceivable aspect of human memory: the positive and the negative, the precious and the profane, the heavenly and the unbearably hellish. Živković's deceptively simple tales anatomize the essence of what makes human beings tick, our passions, our vanities and yearnings; the very memories which make us who we are.