THE DEVIL’S WHISPER (Majutsu wa Sasayaku) by Miyuki Miyabe, translated by Deborah Stuhr Iwabuchi. Kodansha International, 2008, 250 pp., ¥2,600 (cloth)

In ancient Greek tragedies, hopeless predicaments were often resolved through on-the-spot intervention of the gods — or rather actors playing gods — who were physically lowered onto the stage by a crane. Hence the Latin term deus ex machina, literally “god out of a machine.”

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