"I didn't want people to read in the same way they might eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day, but because I wanted them to know the mind-expanding privilege of walking a mile in someone else's shoes." Cathy Rentzenbrink
Posts tagged "Japan"
Nick Bradley: Tokyo calling

Nick Bradley: Tokyo calling

Nick Bradley’s debut novel The Cat and The City offers a dizzying ride through the underbelly of a Tokyo normally invisible to outsiders. Artfully combining different styles of popular storytelling – from horror, Sci-Fi and fantasy to detective fiction and even manga – the lives of a disparate band of characters are deftly intertwined. A...
What she can do

What she can do

From where they stood, it was all her fault. She was entirely to blame. She’d left home, taking the child with her, and bringing her short-lived marriage to an end. In more ways than one, her other half wasn’t the paternal sort, the husbandly sort. In more ways than one, he wasn’t the child-support-paying sort...
Around the world in 80 trees

Around the world in 80 trees

Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – as well as raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup. In Around the World in 80 Trees, Jonathan Drori uses plant science and natural history...
Glimpses of unfamiliar France

Glimpses of unfamiliar France

Glimpses of Unfamiliar Japan is the title of an idiosyncratic account of Japan as a country, as a philosophy, as a world and way of life, as the seductive Other seen through Western eyes. It was written by a rather remarkable man, Lefkadio Hearn (who became Koizumi Yakumo), now mostly forgotten. It is an intimate...
Olivia Sudjic: Between dreams

Olivia Sudjic: Between dreams

Olivia Sudjic’s debut novel Sympathy is a dazzling examination of the morals and customs of our gadget-led lives, a sharp and slippery tale of unreliable identities and assumed connections. It’s narrated by 23-year-old Alice Hare, an unhinged Englishwoman in New York who becomes obsessed with the online presence of 32-year-old Mizuko Himura, a Japanese teacher...
Yukio Mishima: 'Swaddling Clothes'

Yukio Mishima: ‘Swaddling Clothes’

‘Swaddling Clothes’ by Yukio Mishima has haunted me ever since I encountered it twenty years ago when I was a literature student at UCLA. It is a fascinating character study of Toshiko, a woman consumed by her fear of inescapable fate – a subject that fascinates me. Over the years, the character of Toshiko has...
Out there

Out there

The Doll Funeral began as an image of a young girl running out from the back door into an unkempt garden. In my mind it’s as if there is a camera tracking behind her. The camera follows her out into the garden where she jumps off the step, runs through the overgrown grasses and begins...
On Silence

On Silence

How do you tell the story of Christian faith? The difficulty, the crisis, of believing? How do you describe the struggle? There have been many great twentieth-century novelists drawn to the subject – Graham Greene, of course, and François Mauriac, Georges Bernanos and, from his own very particular perspective, Shusaku Endo. When I use the...
Kitsune

Kitsune

“Goblin foxes are peculiarly dreaded in Izumo for three evil habits attributed to them… The third and worst is that of entering into people and taking diabolical possession of them and tormenting them into madness. This affliction is called kitsune-tsuki. “The favourite shape assumed by the goblin fox for the purpose of deluding mankind is that...
War stories for children

War stories for children

“Maybe humans aren’t such a terrible animal after all,” reflects a whale that daydreams about aeroplanes in the sky and fatefully falls in love with a Japanese submarine. As the whale insouciantly navigates the sardine-filled waters of nature, the human sea-routes of warships and submarines and the airways of military planes are rife with death...