Seikatsu no sekkei
[Design for Living]
Shinchōsha, 2001. Out of print.
Also published in: n/a
Before making his debut, Sagawa Mitsuharu worked in a meat processing plant in Saitama, an experience he put to use in writing Seikatsu no sekkei. The main character in this apparently semiautobiographical novel gets a job at a slaughterhouse at the age of 25, after the company where he is employed goes bankrupt. His wife works, too, so he steadily learns his trade as the days pass while also buckling down to housework and caring for their son when he gets home. He sometimes finds it necessary to be reticent about his job when speaking with those around him, and cannot clearly explain why he chose it. The narrative ends with him declaring with a kind of pride, though, that it is at present the only job for him.
The protagonist’s day-to-day job in a slaughterhouse has its own natural interest, while the descriptions of his relationship with his wife and her parents, as well as friends and colleagues, are finely detailed. In the whole a picture of today’s young people, seeking a way of life that fits their needs, comes into vibrant relief. It certainly is not a work that relies only on the novelty of its subject matter. (NM)
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