Ito-San

James Kirkup, Translator, Marc Rigaudis, Author Peter Owen Publishers $29.95 (135p) ISBN 978-0-7206-0818-2
Although French writer Rigaudis's sensibilities are European, he has evidently been greatly influenced by Japanese culture. In this slim collection of five tales, one feels the weight of the setting, which is primarily Tokyo, and the honesty of the characters' actions, no matter how bizarre. His prose is compact, yet he easily shifts from the past to the present tense, suggesting, in a Zen sense, that these are one and the same. In the title story, the unfortunate Ito-san, whose passions are finally awakened by a young co-worker, realizes a tragic (and modern) ending to his extramarital affair. Other tales in the collection sink deeper into a sordid atmosphere. A high school girl commits suicide to escape peer harassment; a mother, who has sacrificed everything for her son's education, finds his concentration shattered by teenage libido. In ``The Contract,'' an American stripper strikes a Faustian deal with the Yakuza to perform public sex with the clients of an after-hours club. Rigaudis has assumed Genet's mantle and successfully takes a walk on Japan's wild side--no easy task. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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