Eien no miyako
Shinchōsha, 2015. 7 volumes; 2,984 pp. total. ¥27,000. ISBN 978-4-10-330815-7.
Also published in: Chinese
Historical events shape the story in succession: the February 26 Incident (an attempted military coup in 1936), the Berlin Olympics (1936), the nationalist celebration of the 2,600th anniversary of Japan’s foundation by the traditional reckoning (1940), the attack on Pearl Harbor (1941), wartime evacuations of Japanese cities, the firebombing of Tokyo, and Japan’s ultimate defeat (1945). Set against a turbulent historical canvas, this is a commandingly realistic historical novel deploying experimental techniques of contemporary literature. A broad range of narrative voices are interspersed with quotations from diaries, letters, and newspaper coverage. And the February 26 Incident is portrayed in detail like a live broadcast reporting the progression of the day’s events.
With this work, Kaga Otohiko brings out the innately rich potential of the epic novel as a genre. This seven-volume masterpiece is a truly exceptional achievement in the history of the modern Japanese novel. (NM)
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