Two brilliant, multi-layered stories from the winner of the Kenzaburo Oe Prize: part of our Japanese novella series, showcasing the best contemporary Japanese writing.
On the eve of the Iraq War, a man and a woman meet in a nightclub in Tokyo. They go to a love hotel, and spend the next five days in a torrid affair. Written in a stream of consciousness, with the reader’s perceptions shifting and melting into one another, what is remarkable in this story is not what happens, but the ability of the writer to enter the minds and memories of the protagonists.
In the second story, a woman living in a damp flat obsesses on the filthy state of her dwelling. She remains in bed for the duration of the narrative, but the drama and tension of her inner life – spiralling further and further into her memories and anxieties – keep the reader engrossed to the very end.
The End of the Moment We Had demonstrates the fluidity and richness of this extraordinarily gifted writer’s language and ideas.
Winner of the prestigious Akutagawa Prize, three dream-like tales of memory and war: part of our Japanese novella series, showcasing the best contemporary Japanese writing
A Japanese man, far from home, travels the countryside of Normandy with a friend – talking about war, literature, and everything in between. As his ideas of his life become more entangled with his personal writing, the pangs of his past and his half-forgotten memories overlap and threaten his peace.
Owing a debt to French writers from La Fontaine to Proust, the three fable-like tales in The Bear and the Paving Stone are stories of loss, memory and a longing to belong.
A quixotic and funny tale about first love – from the Akutagawa Prize-winning author.
A boy is obsessed with a woman who sells sandwiches. He goes to the supermarket almost every day, just so he can look at her face. She is beautiful to him, and he calls her “Ms Ice Sandwich”, and endlessly draws her portrait.
But the boy’s friend hears about this hesitant adoration, and suddenly everything changes. His visits to Ms Ice Sandwich stop, and with them the last hopes of his childhood.
A moving and surprisingly funny tale of growing up and learning how to lose, Ms Ice Sandwich is Mieko Kawakami at her very best.
Akutagawa Prize-winning stories about unsettling loss and romance from one of Japan’s most celebrated contemporary writers—for fans of Haruki Murakami and Banana Yoshimoto
In a dreamlike adventure, one woman travels through an apparently unending night with a porcelain girlfriend, mist-monsters and villainous monkeys; a sister mourns her invisible brother whom only she can still see, while the rest of her family welcome his would-be wife into their home; and an accident with a snake leads a shop girl to discover the snake-families everyone else seems to be concealing.
Sensual, yearning, and filled with the tricks of memory and grief, Record of a Night Too Brief is an atmospheric trio of unforgettable tales.
“Talking animals, transformations into trees and horses, and a melancholic mood of loss and love make it easy to see why Kawakami is one of the more exciting voices in contemporary Japanese literature.” —Thrillist
A sharp, photo-realistic novella of memory and thwarted hope set in modern-day Tokyo—an “unflinching . . . powerful” showcase of the best in contemporary Japanese literature (Shelf Awareness)
Divorced and cut off from his family, Taro lives alone in one of the few occupied apartments in his block, a block that is to be torn down as soon as the remaining tenants leave. Since the death of his father, Taro keeps to himself, but is soon drawn into an unusual relationship with the woman upstairs, Nishi, as she passes on the strange tale of the sky-blue house next door.
First discovered by Nishi in the little-known photo-book Spring Garden, the sky-blue house soon becomes a focus for both Nishi and Taro: of what is lost, of what has been destroyed, and of what hope may yet lie in the future for both of them, if only they can seize it.
A startling novella from the heir to Haruki Murakami and Gabriel García MárquezTrapped in Tokyo, left behind by a series of girlfriends, the narrator of Slow Boat sizes up his situation. His missteps, his violent rebellions, his tiny victories. But he is not a passive loser, content to accept all that fate hands him. He attempts one last escape to the edges of the city, holding the only safety net he has known – his dreams.Filled with lyrical longing and humour, Slow Boat captures perfectly the urge to get away and the necessity of finding yourself in a world which might never even be looking for you.