There is something discernibly old-school about this anthology of short stories. In this solid introduction to Japanese literature of the 20th century, translator Lane Dunlop includes the work of literary giants such as Osamu Dazai and Yasunari Kawabata, and there are none of the felons, sociopaths, shut-ins or cyborgs that stalk the pages of most contemporary literature. The dialogue is muted but expressive, the inner emotions of characters are held in check and inference prevails over explicit description. When there are shocks and revelations, they are released in the fullness of time, like depth charges.

A Late Chrysanthemum: Twenty-One Stories from the Japanese, by various authorsTranslated by Lane Dunlop178 pagesTUTTLE PUBLISHING

In the aptly named “Infatuation,” Naoya Shiga traces the course of a man’s extramarital affair. The spouse compares his partner’s “drab and pathetic” appearance to that of his young lover, a woman whose “flesh was like the pure white meat of a crab caught in northern seas.” While showing that he has no affection for her, he derives pleasure from the torment he inflicts on his long-suffering wife. Shiga gives little indication of his own position on infidelity, but hints at the psychological damage wreaked on marriages by male narcissism.