A question that came up during this year’s Best Translated Book Award was how much attention should be given to supplementary material? Or, put another way, how important is the context in determining how you feel about a book? An author’s or translator’s note, a forward or afterward by a famous fan, a podcast analyzing the text chapter by chapter or an interview with the … Continue reading Hybrid Child: A Work of Wide-Screen Baroque Science Fiction by Mariko Ōhara
Title: The Emissary Author: Yoko Tawada Translator: Margaret Mitsutani Publisher: New Directions Books, New York (2018) ISBN: 978 0 8112 2762 9 In Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary the future is, somewhat predictably, bleak. Japanese children are frail and infirm creatures, cared for by grandparents and great-grandparents who remain strong and vigorous well past the hundred-year mark. The two main characters, Yoshiro and his great-grandson Mumei, live … Continue reading In Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary the future is, predictably, bleak.
Reinvention is a popular topic in novels written by, for or about women. I’m not sure why it is so prevalent, or gender specific, but I know it’s not a character arc I associate with male protagonists. Call it the heroine’s journey: the female character, out of dissatisfaction with her current life, or because it is crumbling around her, goes on a journey of self … Continue reading Inheritance from Mother by Minae Mizumura, tr. Juliet Winters Carpenter – a #BTBA2018 flashlight
Born April 12, 1933, Yoshio Aramaki’s writing comes to us from a different time. His novel The Sacred Era, originally published in Japanese in 1978, has more in common with classic American sci-fi short story writers like Philip K. Dick, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury—sharing their preoccupation with wonky metaphysics, biblical allegories, and performative misogyny—than with speculative fiction writers working in the present day. He leads … Continue reading The Sacred Era by Yoshio Aramaki, translated by Baryon Tensor Posadas
Loud footsteps in a vast and otherwise silent corridor; the cloying perfume of lilacs; an ice-cold drink at the end of a hot, dry day. In Winter we bundle-up, huddle inside and create a barrier between ourselves and the elements. Summer, though, is a different story. We open ourselves up to the full sensuality of the natural world – we wear less clothing, bask in the sun … Continue reading 3 Novellas for Summer