LIVES IN TOKYO AND THE REGIONS
Bungeishunjū (Bunshun Bunko), 2004. 192 pp. ¥430. ISBN 978-4- 16-766503-6.
Also published in: Chinese (traditional and simplified characters), French, and Korean
This is a rather strange work. Nothing really happens and there is no traditional plot development. The narrative simply depicts in parallel a number of ways of living and human relationships.
The Udagawas, friends of the narrator who were his seniors at university, tried to become more intimate with one another, but this became a psychological burden on their marriage and they separated. His parents are a loving couple, but his mother regularly comes to stay with him in Tokyo and wanders the streets alone. This seems to be his parents’ key to maintaining their marriage over the long term.
Most mysterious of all is the relationship between the narrator and the nameless woman. They have warm feelings for each other and get restless if they do not meet for even one day. But frightened of moving any closer, they remain stalled one step away from love.
While people cannot live in total solitude, sometimes relationships can feel like a hassle. If married couples or lovers in the first heat of passion feel moments of unbearable longing to be together, there are also times when they wish to establish distance. It can be difficult to find the same wavelength, which can cause disagreements. The work skillfully depicts the inherent contradictions of daily life and the shades of emotion that life conceals. (CK)
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