Still Life and Other Stories

Junzo Shono, Author, Wayne P. Lammers, Translator Stone Bridge Press $16.95 (264p) ISBN 978-1-880656-02-0
This first translation into English of a penetrating collection of stories by one of Japan's preeminent postwar writers focuses on the small events and revelations of domestic life. In one story, a straying young husband and his unhappy wife attempt to construct their lives around the growing void between them. Another tells of a bureaucrat fired from his job for embezzlement who still leaves the house every day so his children won't know about his predicament. The other 11 pieces form a sort of novella dealing exclusively with the Yomogida family. Shono is particularly adept at capturing close family moments, such as an intense game of cards played every night before a daughter's upcoming wedding--an unconscious effort to stave off the imminent breakup of the family circle. In another moving story Shono describes Mr. Yomogida taking homemade sushi to a widower friend. Shono conveys both intimacy and distance, tranquility and tension, as he explores the shifting relations between husband and wife, father and son, brother and sister. Lammers's excellent translation keeps the dialogue and language deceptively simple yet nuanced and subtle; he makes the family Japanese and universal at the same time. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 06/29/1998
Release date: 07/01/1998
Paperback - 420 pages - 978-1-4587-6184-2
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