Unmapped Territories: New Women's Fiction from Japan

Yukiko Tanaka, Editor Women in Translation $10.95 (168p) ISBN 978-1-879679-00-9
The changing roles of Japanese women are convincingly evoked in this collection of seven stories; here women discover different sides of themselves and alternate selves. In Taeko Tomioka's powerful ``Straw Dogs,'' an unmarried, middle-aged woman acts out a role normally reserved for men when she takes a series of young lovers. Perhaps to avenge the way she has been treated in a male-dominated society, she lures men to hotel rooms, seduces them, then destroys their sexuality and taunts them with questions like ``What would you do if we had a baby?'' In Minako Ohba's ``Candle Fish'' a wife and mother, living discontentedly with her husband in Alaska, dreams she is ``transformed into a yamanba, the old witch of the mountain'' who eats the flesh of young men. But her satisfaction comes from her friendship with Olga, whose tale of marriage to a self-centered musician spurs the narrator toward self-fulfillment through writing. Though these and other stories are wholly satisfying, several are incomplete in plot and character development. Tanaka also edited and translated To Live and To Write: Selections by Japanese Women Writers, 1913-1938. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Fiction
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