Monday, 18 September 2017

Territory of Light - The Sound of a Voice

The Sound of a Voice takes us into August, within a few pages it feels that the narrator is being immersed into potential schemes by her estranged husband, Fujino, into not going through with the separation, through two people, an old female acquaintance, who herself has been through a divorce and also a professor friend both trying to persuade her into not going through with the separation, but to what extent the powers of their persuasion will make maybe seen to develop in the next chapters.

Through the book's chapters so far it's apparent through the prose of the narrator's observations of her state of fragility through this point of dramatic transition in her and her daughter's life, perhaps in this chapter this is felt in the scene of them attending an August festival at their local shrine, presumably for the obon festival, this fragility is felt when they are joined by a friend of her daughter's from the day care centre she attends in playing with fireworks, the observations of her daughter's disappointed reactions as the fireworks fizzle out, and through other scenes throughout the chapters where it's felt that for the narrator life is filled and consumed with the coping of constantly spinning plates, through work and caring for her daughter, and of course the trials of the separation.

Another observation of this chapter is Tsushima's ability of building correlations within her writing, even amongst the brevity of these chapters, in economic prose she bridges deeply emotional and engaging scenes between the reader and the themes her narrators face. Although the over arching theme of the book is light, in The Sound of a Voice it feels briefly that the motif switches to being that of falling, throughout the chapter scenes of falling are perused upon, an uncertain memory from  school days is recounted, the potential of her daughter falling from the apartment window, as the narrator spies her daughter's origami papers that have been dispatched from their window and have landed on their neighbour's roof, to an actual fatal event that occurs to a boy from the daycare centre, these incidents, although separate feel they have an underlying connecting element. In addition, as seen in previous chapters there's the impression that the narrator has a sixth sense in perceiving these episodes which lends the scope of the narrative a broader, perhaps ethereal panorama.

Finishing The Sound of a Voice it feels there's been a slight digress to the ongoing central plot of the separation, but it paints a portrait of the narrator caught again in the ongoing emotional flux of her situation, voices of persuasion and of the narrator's clairvoyant sense of the flow of the undercurrents of surrounding events and the detection of nuances of societal pressures are adding to the atmosphere to the book's progress and the enigma of it's conclusion.

Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima is published in April 2018 by Penguin Classics



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