This month we present new writing on memory from Japan, guest edited and introduced by David Karashima. From nationwide disasters to childhood trauma, in tranquil remembrance and merciless flashback, ten contemporary writers consider the role and the power of national and personal memory. Mitsuyo Kakuta tells an intimate yet chilling tale about a beauty’s dark secret. Akuta Prize-winner Natsuko Kuroda turns to tradition to keep the dead alive through memory. In two stories of widowers, Kyoko Nakajima shows a man rediscovering his wife in the kitchen, and Toshiyuki Horie sends an elderly bowling alley owner down Memory Lane. The sudden noise of a window breaking in the night shatters Shun Medoruma’s narrator. In two stories of journeys, Matsuie Masashi’s old woman wanders through the city and into the past, and Meiko Kawakami’s floundering young woman sets off to fulfill a teenage promise. Keiichiro Hirano’s bullied schoolboy finds himself trapped in a recurring nightmare. Hideo Furukawa sees rogue fruit infecting people with memories that threaten to “corrupt public morals.” And Yoko Tawada imagines all of Japan rendered uninhabitable by a contamination of a different kind. We hope you’ll enjoy this, well, memorable work. We thank the British Centre for Literary Translation and the Nippon Foundation for their generous support. Also this month, we present a special section of new Mexican writing, guest edited and introduced by Thomas Bunstead and Sophie Hughes, with new work by Luis Felipe Fabre, Agustín Goenaga, Yuri Herrera, and Laia Jufresa.
Talk is not only the “principal character in this book,” as Titley writes in his translator’s note, it is the book.
In his nostalgic yet critical gaze, the introduction of home computers in those years becomes a symbol for larger reconfigurations of solitude and companionship.