cover image The Bear and the Paving Stone

The Bear and the Paving Stone

Toshiyuki Horie, trans. from the Japanese by Geraint Howells. Pushkin Press, $13.95 paperback original (128p) ISBN 978-1-78227-437-7

Horie weaves fables out of everyday existence in these three captivating tales of relationships and lives revisited. In the title story, a translator travels to a remote village in Normandy to visit an old friend and finds serendipitous connections to the people, places, and stories he encounters. In “The Sandman is Coming,” a man visits the seaside with his dead friend’s sister. While reminiscing, the narrator suggests that they travel with her child to places he’d written about to his dying friend. “Just the three of us?” the woman asks. The narrator’s response, “Is there anyone else?” reveals the theme that while some things wash away, the connections that remain become anchors. In the final story, “In the Old Castle,” one man’s memory of his youthful transgression of breaking and entering turns into an allegory about the force of fear itself. Across these ruminative stories, Horie suddenly drops in moments of piercing wisdom and revelation, revealing that, for better or worse, there is no escape from one’s memory. (July)