Japanese contemporary fiction

Cover image for A Perfect Day to Be Alone by Nanae Aoyama

A Perfect Day to Be Alone by Nanae Aoyama (transl. Jesse Kirkwood): A poignant, funny coming-of-age story

Nanae Aoyama’s A Perfect Day to Be Alone is already a bestseller in several European countries, translated into German, French and Italian before Jesse Kirkwood’s English version. Spanning a year in which twenty-year-old Chizu lives with an elderly distant relative, it’s a quiet coming-of-age story. It turned out that when you put three people with […]

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The Bear and the Paving Stone by Toshiyuki Horie (transl. Geraint Howells): Memory and friendship

This is the latest in Pushkin Press’ series showcasing contemporary Japanese writing, all brightly packaged and all elegantly slim. It’s the third I’ve read: I started with Hiromi Kawakami’s surreal Record of a Night Too Brief, having enjoyed both Strange Weather in Tokyo and The Nakano Thrift Shop, then ended last year’s reviews with Mieko

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Cover image for Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami

Ms Ice Sandwich by Mieko Kawakami (transl. Louise Heal Kawai): In the eye of the beholder

Mieko Kawakami is one of Haruki Murakami’s favourite young writers which made her novella hard to resist for me. Ms Ice Sandwich is the latest in a series published by Pushkin Press showcasing Japanese authors. I’ve only got around to reviewing one other– Hiromi Kawakami’s surreal Record of a Night Too Brief – which leaves

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