More good news from Anthem Press/Thames River Press who are due to publish another three titles from the JLPP list in May, click the titles to redirect to the publisher's page ~
By Akiko Itoyama Translated by Charles De Wolf
In this novel-length road story, the female protagonist, who is haunted by an audio hallucination –‘twenty ells of linen are worth a coat’ – that plays over and over in her mind, escapes from a mental hospital with a young man. This is the story of their journey together. [NP] The hallucinatory words come from a passage in Marx's Das Kapital, but the protagonist knows nothing of that; nor does she understand what they literally mean. After she starts to hear them, she attempts suicide and is then diagnosed as manic and placed in a mental hospital. Unable to stand life in the prison-like hospital, she makes a daring escape with Nagoyan, another patient. [NP] She is 21 and fluent in the Hakata dialect of northern Kyushu. Nagoyan is a 24-year-old company employee suffering from depression who insists that he is a native of Tokyo, though he is actually from Nagoya. This strange pair, just escaped from their Hakata hospital, struggle with the mental crises that constantly assault them as they head southward in a junky car, picking destinations at whim as they go. On the way, they sightsee, quarrel and yearn for the fragrance of lavender.
By Mariko Koike Translated by Juliet W. Carpenter
Kyoko Noma visits the city of Sendai, where she used to live, and reflects on the events that took place there 20 years earlier, in the second half of the sixties, when the winds of the counterculture student movement were sweeping Japan. This is a tale of intense, heartbreaking love in adolescence, and the tragedy it gives rise to.
By Hisashi Inoue, Translated by Jeffrey Hunter
Tokyo Seven Roses' is set in Japan during the waning months of WWII and the beginning of the Occupation. It is written as a diary kept from April 1945 to April 1946 by Shinsuke Yamanaka, a fifty-three-year-old fan-maker living in Nezu, part of Tokyo's shitamachi (old-town) district. After the war, Shinsuke learns by chance that the Occupation forces are plotting a nefarious scheme: in order to cut Japan off from its dreadful past, they intend to see that the language is written henceforth using the alphabet. To fight off this unheard-of threat to the integrity of Japanese culture, seven beautiful women – the Seven Roses – take a stand.
Very much looking forward to seeing these titles, Itoyama Akiko has been the recipient of the Akutagawa and Kawabata Yasunari Prize and has also previously been nominated for the Noma and Naoki Prize, Charles de Wolf has previously translated Itoyama Akiko's Akutagwa Prize winning story Oki de Matsu which is available to read over at Words Without Borders. In Pursuit of Lavender is the second novel of Itoyama's to be translated, It's Only Talk, translated by Raquel Hill was published by The Japan Times. Mariko Koike, a Naoki Prize winning author, A Cappella is her second novel to appear in English translation, the previous The Cat in the Coffin was published by Vertical Inc. Tokyo Seven Roses: Volume 1 is the first, (as far as I can see), novel of the Tanizaki Prize winning playwright/novelist Inoue Hisashi to appear in translation.