Manazuru

Hiromi Kawakami, trans. from the Japanese by Michael Emmerich, Counterpoint (PGW, dist.), $15.95 paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-58243-600-5
In Kawakami's first novel to be translated into English, a woman fades in and out of the present as she visits the beach town of Manazuru, in the shadow of Mt. Fuji. Kei's husband disappeared when their daughter, Momo, was three. Momo is now 12 and lives with Kei and Kei's mother in Tokyo. Moments shared among the women are pleasant but awkward, due to three generations of unspoken resentment. Some jarring transitions aside, Kawakami's handling of temporal space feels authentic: as Kei kisses her lover in one time and place, the wetness leaves her lips in another; she sits alone on a bench in Tokyo. The real and the fantastical meld as Kei narrowly avoids disaster (she escapes the typhoon that destroys the restaurant where she was dining). Her memories are startlingly vivid, yet their veracity remains uncertain; are the visions she has of her husband with another woman real or imagined? Kawakami has a remarkable ability to obscure reality, fantasy, and memory, making the desire for love feel hauntingly real. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/26/2010
Release date: 08/01/2010
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 219 pages - 978-1-58243-627-2
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