Looking for something Japan-related to read under the kotatsu heater as you hunker down at home? Here are some ideas:
- In “Tokyo Ueno Station,” the narrator is a dead construction worker whose spirit loiters around homeless camps, where he and others who had fallen down the socioeconomic ladder spent their final living years. The New York Times’ Motoko Rich spoke to author Yu Miri about how growing up as an ethnic Korean “on the edge of society” helped inspire her to write the award-winning book.
- Rakuko Rubin’s “Love Child,” a collection of short stories that traverse bicultural themes and universal mileposts in life, was translated by her husband, Jay Rubin. The stories span over 20 years of output, and are collected in this book in both English and the original Japanese, notes Kris Kosaka.
- Allison Alexy’s “Intimate Disconnections” is an absorbing study of Japanese attitudes toward dissolving marriages, writes Nicolas Gattig. Alexy lived in Tokyo, conducting interviews with divorcees and sitting in on support groups about “family problems.” The result is a book that helps us understand a society moving away from equating marriage with normalcy.
- A mix of introspection and encounter-based travel writing, Cathy N. Davidson’s memoir “36 Views of Mount Fuji” is a thoughtful and compelling account of a woman gaining a deeper understanding of herself and Japan through her travels, writes Stephen Mansfield.
- To mark the new year, Iain Maloney teases readers with a selection of intriguing titles due for publication in the next 12 months, with new English translations of books by Haruki Murakami and Mieko Kawakami coming down the pipe, not to mention journalist Shiori Ito’s highly anticipated account of the ordeal she endured after accusing a senior colleague of rape, and fiction from David Peace.