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A Day in the Life

by Elliott Samuels

Staff Writer

“A Day in the Life” features 12 short stories told from the point of view of a man in his 60s. Each tale is essentially a reflection of aging, an examination of the moment in our lives when the confidence of our youth is replaced by the uncertainty of our physical and mental faculties.

A Day in the Life, Senji Kuroi, DALKEY ARCHIVE PRESS

The same scenes and motifs keep cropping up amongst the stories — appointments with doctors, medical center waiting rooms and examinations — but these merely provide the backdrop for the tiny paradoxes that elderly folk seem to observe on a daily basis.

The first tale, “The Threshold of Dreams,” sets the scene nicely, describing the anxiety an elderly man feels before he undergoes his annual health check. Such anxiety has been heightened because the written set of instructions that was sent ahead of his appointment specifically stated that he “must not under any circumstances take the test so soon after having strange dreams of the kind you can recall after waking up.” And, naturally, the elderly man had just awoken from such a dream.

A more realistic tale, “A Shallow Relationship,” examines the confusion one man feels as he suspects that all machines have turned against him. Anyone who has ever checked themselves in at the airport can relate to this.

In the last tale, “Yozo’s Evening,” a man is stalked through the streets by a stranger for no greater crime than making eye contact with a younger man. Eek — what frightening times we live in!

As far as author Senji Kuroi is concerned, there is nothing more frightening than being old.