Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Territory of Light - The Dunes

The chapter for October in Territory of Light is rather enigmatically entitled The Dunes, the book in full is appearing in April 2018 published by Penguin Classics, in a translation by Geraldine Harcourt. An aspect of the narrative that has appeared so far is one laced with a certain sense of solitude as we follow our narrator who has recently separated from her husband and finds herself facing the machinations of divorce. Another aspect that is never too distant from the narrative is of her surmounting the logistics of both parenting and of being employed, these two are a common thread throughout the chapters. The Dunes continues on with the scenario that arose in the previous chapter of her daughter throwing things onto an adjacent roof of an apartment below theirs on the fourth floor, the elderly occupants complain and a blue mesh is put up around the narrator's windows, along with this the elderly couple raise the suspicion that she herself is also guilty of throwing the items as well, which in subtly contributes to a sense of victimisation that the narrator consciously/unconsciously senses is tied to her predicament.

Perhaps The Dunes departs slightly with the sense that the character is enclosed in solitude with the appearance of Kawachi, a married man who is linked to the parent/teacher group of the daycare centre her daughter attends, this arises after a drunken night at her colleagues apartment and culminates the following morning with his early disappearance and her daughter's lateness for daycare and of her phoning in sick at work, as with the previous chapters there's a sense of seismic shifts occurring in the narrator as we observe her endeavouring to make new spaces within herself to accommodate these new perspectives, which begins to be developed further in November's chapter which is entitled Red Lights.

The Dunes displays again Tsushima's character caught between the lucidness of harsh realities and the more abstracted moments as the dials change, which is one of the central questioning perspectives of her writing, a direction change in circumstance and the pivot points of society begin to have moved by degrees. The Dunes ends in a dreamscape of children's voices heard across a sanded landscape, of distress or portentous?, we'll have to see.

Territory of Light at Penguin Classics



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