Rain in the Wind: Four Stories

Saiichi Maruya, Author, Dennis Keene, Translator
Saiichi Maruya, Author, Dennis Keene, Translator Kodansha America $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87011-940-8
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Despite their competent translation, these four stories probably work better for a Japanese readership than for Americans. Maruya ( Singular Rebellion ) echoes Borges and Pirandello in ``Tree Shadows'' with a narrator who, preoccupied with trees' shadows, spins a tale about a grand old man of letters beset by the same obsession and by a half-mad woman who may be his mother. It's a strained parable that also satirizes Japan's overdose of Western culture. In the novella that gives the book its title, a college professor finds in a volume of haiku clues to his deceased father's possible encounter with an alcoholic itinerant poet in pre-war Japan. His sleuthing casts light on Japan's fascist past and turns up his father's dark secret, but his hair-splitting saps the reader's interest. ``I'll Buy That Dream,'' about a fibbing Ginza bargirl, and ``The Gentle Downhill Slope,'' in which a student indulges in a brothel spree, are bantering, facile allegories on the fragmentary quality of life. (Apr.)
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