The Phoenix Tree and Other Stories

Satoko Kizaki, Author, Carol A. Flath, Translator Kodansha America $18.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87011-982-8
The first English translation of these four complex psychological tales introduces a writer who depicts women in the changing society of modern Japan. In ``Barefoot,'' the protagonist ruminates upon her recent sojourn in France, and the family that makes her unhappy. ``The Flame Trees'' examines a young wife's recurring childhood nightmares as she faces the birth of her first child in a Southern California university community. In ``Mei Hwa Lu,'' a Japanese businessman considers his relationships with wife, daughter and mother during a visit to the formerly Manchurian town of his childhood. The title story captures an unmarried woman's anguish as she assumes the care of her dying aunt and reflects on her role within the extended family. The author is well served by her translator, who sustains the tension and uncertainty of the characters' introspection while retaining clarity in the narrative. If it still lingers, the myth of impassive Japanese women should be shattered by Kizaki's sensitive portraits. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/01/1990
Release date: 08/01/1990
Paperback - 978-4-7700-1790-1
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