[trans. Touring the Land of the Dead]
Kawade Shobō Shinsha (Kawade Bunko), 2015. 176 pp. ¥490. ISBN 978-4-309-41338-9.
Also published in: Chinese (traditional and simplified characters), English and Italian
They stay in a now faded and cheap hotel, once an exclusive resort and a favorite of Natsuko’s mother. For Natsuko, the hotel’s fall from its glory days mirrors the decline of her own family and home since the death of her father. Her mother and brother, hopelessly attached to their more prosperous past, continue to spend profligately despite their reduced circumstances. Their thoughtless behavior has been a constant threat and torment to Natsuko. Over the course of the trip, Natsuko comes to realize that her husband is a person of remarkable strengths, free of such family troubles, despite the physical handicap he has borne since his illness. Through its tale of the difficult life of one woman, this Akutagawa Prize– winning novel movingly depicts the disappointments of life in contemporary Japanese society and suggests a glimmer of hope. (NK)
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