Source: Economist    2014-05-31  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

New Japanese fiction

Slightly off A haunting introduction to the work of an important Japanese author

Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales. By Yoko Ogawa.

AN ELDERLY man who curates a museum of torture. A landlady who grows carrots shaped like hands. A woman who buys a birthday cake for her dead son. The odd stories of Yoko Ogawa, a Japanese author, irrupt into the ordinary world as if from the unconscious or the grave. “Revenge”, the latest collection to be translated into English, offers a short and haunting introduction to her work.

Nameless narrators describe strange and often shocking encounters in cool, almost ordinary language. The characters suffocate, are stabbed to death, die crushed by the detritus of the world. Ms Ogawa has said her work is influenced by Haruki Murakami's magical-realist style. There are fantastic flashes, such as a woman born with a heart outside her body. Yet the overall effect is more David Lynch: the rot that lurks beneath the surface of the world.


Ms Ogawa has written more than 20 books and won every big literary prize in Japan. The English translation of her novel “The Housekeeper and the Professor” in 2009 brought her attention and success in America. Publishers keen to spot the next Murakami have now released four of her books in English. Her translator, Stephen Snyder, describes her work as remarkably diverse.

Her novels range from tender to sadomasochistic; her stories are more straightforwardly disturbing. This weird otherworldly quality is deeply Japanese, says Mr Snyder. It is in part a reaction to the glassy perfection of this self-conscious society. Ms Ogawa's fiction considers what is out of place. She is less concerned with brutality than with loss and absence.

Yet there is a steadying effect in her stories through repeating motifs—a classic technique of Japanese poetry. Rotting food and body parts recur; actors in one story reappear obliquely in others. The result is a spectral connectedness. Ms Ogawa understands the consolation of order within apparent randomness. One story describes a dying man's cluttered house: “As I studied the mass more closely, I began to feel that it was not the product of random accumulation but that it actually had a coherent form all its own.”
通过重复主题这一经典的日本诗歌技巧,她的故事有种稳定的效果。正在腐烂的食物和尸体反复出现,在一个故事出现的角色会在另一个故事里间接地出现,这些都是冥冥之中早注定。表面杂乱无章,小川女士却深谙顺序的艺术。她有个故事,描述了一个将死男人,凌乱不堪的房间。 “当我对于“乱”有更深的理解,我开始意识到它不是随意积累的产物,而事实上,它有着自己条理性的形式。”

上一篇:经济学人下载:印度教民族主义者 穿短裤的人们
下一篇:经济学人下载:印度新政府 一剂强心剂

网站地图 - 学习交流 - 恒星英语论坛 - 关于我们 - 广告服务 - 帮助中心 - 联系我们
Copyright ©2006-2007 www.Hxen.com All Rights Reserved