Holiday gifts they'll cherish from cover to cover

Nov 15, 2014

Holiday gifts they'll cherish from cover to cover

As the holiday season rolls around, it’s time to dash about in a mad panic in search of gifts that say “I’ve given this one some thought, honest.” Or you can just let us do the thinking for you, with gift suggestions from our ...

Phantasm Japan

Nov 8, 2014

Phantasm Japan

by Madeline Barbush

In simple terms, “Phantasm Japan” is a fantasy anthology on the theme of “light and dark, from and about Japan.” Phantasm Japan, by Multiple authors.Haikasoru, Fiction. To outsiders, the overriding image of Japan is of some fantasy land, a place that is impossibly real. ...

Fuminori writes noir, but not as we know it

Nov 1, 2014

Fuminori writes noir, but not as we know it

by Iain Maloney

Fuminori Nakamura has won many of the major literary prizes in Japan and is quickly making the same kind of impact in the English-speaking world. His third novel to be translated into English, “Last Winter, We Parted,” is out now. It’s a tense, layered ...

Malice

Nov 1, 2014

Malice

by Tim Hornyak

“The incident took place on April 16, 1996, a Tuesday.” This meditative, clever novel from the author of 2011′s “The Devotion of Suspect X” begins with a journal entry by Osamu Nonoguchi, a children’s author who happens upon the body of his friend and ...

No Longer Human

| Oct 25, 2014

No Longer Human

by William Bradbury

Osamu Dazai’s “No Longer Human” comprises a series of three fictionalized notebooks, with each increasingly darker than the last. The character writing these books, Yozo, is detached from the beginning and is afraid of human interactions, but he learns how to socialize with people ...

Perfidia

Oct 25, 2014

Perfidia

by Mark Schreiber

This sprawling period piece from the prolific author of such works as “L.A. Confidential” and “The Black Dalia” takes place in Los Angeles and environs between Dec. 5 and 29, 1941. Central to the plot are the enigmatic slayings of a Japanese family of ...

If you'd nuked a city, you'd feel guilty too

Oct 18, 2014

If you'd nuked a city, you'd feel guilty too

by J.J. O'Donoghue

The author T.C. Boyle in the preface to his book “Stories II” published last year made a convincing argument that runs counter to the conventional wisdom to “write what you know.” Boyle said: “A story is an exercise of imagination — or, as Flannery ...

Black Rain

| Oct 11, 2014

Black Rain

by Kris Kosaka

Masuji Ibuse’s classic 1965 novel “Black Rain” takes readers into the everyday lives of a family poisoned by radiation sickness. The narrative structure carefully balances between the present time of the novel and journal entries from the bombings of Hiroshima to craft a carefully ...

Inner-city life, and the banal mystery that is other people

Oct 4, 2014

Inner-city life, and the banal mystery that is other people

by Matt Kamen

Beautifully banal. Perhaps not the most positive-sounding turn of phrase, but the one that best summarizes the appeal of Shuichi Yoshida’s interwoven narrative of five young adults and their struggles living in an overcrowded Tokyo apartment. Parade, by Shuichi Yoshida, Translated by Philip Gabriel.Vintage ...

Confessions

Oct 4, 2014

Confessions

by Mark Schreiber

The award-winning 1950 Akira Kurosawa film classic “Rashomon,” based on two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, used different and contradictory accounts of a samurai’s death to explore humanity’s self-serving behavior. Kanae Minato’s first novel, “Confessions,” adopts a somewhat similar approach, with its six chapters ...

The Crimson Thread of Abandon: Stories

Oct 4, 2014

The Crimson Thread of Abandon: Stories

by Madeline Barbush

It’s a wonder “The Crimson Thread of Abandon” was never translated into English before. Shuji Terayama (1935-83) was a provocative artist and outlaw author, and his 20 stories fall nothing short of this reputation. Each borrows and mocks the conventions of a classic fairy ...

Read up on books about books about Japan

Sep 27, 2014

Read up on books about books about Japan

by Kris Kosaka

Revving up the metabolism of culture with the pulse of new artistic voices, a good literary journal doesn’t usually have much to do with profit — it’s all about circulation. Japanese literary journals enjoy a healthy transmission here, thanks to the financial backing of ...