Considered a master of the Japanese short story, Naoya Shiga’s “The Paper Door and Other Stories” truly impresses. Seventeen stories explore a vast range of human emotions, from fever-induced insanity in “The Razor” to the analytical musings of a circus performer whose stunt has just gone horribly wrong in “Han’s Crime.”

From simple acts of kindness on a train, (“As Far as Abashiri”) or lost chances at redemption (“Kuniko”), these stories consider humanity’s darkness and purity with equal off-hand perspicacity. Covering a span of 40 years and including frequent autobiographical underpinnings, this collection also reveals the struggles of a writer reconciling a tranquil domestic life with the need to experience extreme emotion as an artist. The readings are enhanced by Donald Keene’s preface to this 2001 new edition, placing Shiga within the wider Japanese literary sphere, as well as biographical and literary highlights in translator Lane Dunlop’s preface.

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