Published in 1939, “Schoolgirl” established Osamu Dazai’s career as a writer. Later novels such as “No Longer Human” and “The Setting Sun” would turn him into a literary celebrity, but in “Schoolgirl” we find Dazai exploring the same preoccupations in a lighter palette, his particular worldview finding expression through the interior monologue of an awkward teenage girl.

Taking place over the course of a single day, “Schoolgirl” exhibits Dazai’s insight and flair for depicting the inner workings of human consciousness. Allison Markin Powell’s translation renders the narration lively and idiosyncratic, the schoolgirl’s thoughts flitting from childish outbursts to somber meditations on existence with a lightness of touch that is natural and engaging.

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