Friday, 8 June 2018

Territory of Light - Corpuscles of Light

Corpuscles of Light brings us full circle with the chapters of Territory of Light by Tsushima Yuko translated by Geraldine Harcourt and I can only thank Penguin Books again for the monthly chapters that they've sent me, it's been a first for me to read a book over the space of a year or so. It's interesting perhaps to contemplate that in times gone by that this is the way that many novels would initially appear before the reading public, being serialized before the completed novel would be finished, it would be interesting to envisage reader's reactions nowadays to how perhaps if the latest best seller were to appear in monthly chapters until it's final edition.

Corpuscles of Light has the feel of things moving on for the narrator, the initial opening of the chapter sees the narrator contemplate the empty office space below her apartment and the potential of perspectives shifting, as well as looking forward a trip to the city provokes an episode from the past with a previous lover of the narrator, which ends on an unfulfilled note. There's a feeling of transience to this final chapter, of actuality beginning to recede to memory, after securing another flat, (which interestingly the narrator notes has the feeling of being over cast in terms of it receiving light), the narrator returns and takes in the apartment where she and the novel have occupied and begins to consign it and it's light to memory. Another important event is of her beginning a new family register - koseki, this one though with her as named head of the family, the reader imagines the raised eyebrows.

If perhaps you're new to Yuko Tsushima Territory of Light is a fantastic opening novel as an introduction to her writing and the themes that she concentrated her writing to; single motherhood and of the reverberations of how it is perceived within Japanese society, it's imbued with a poeticism that is both provoking and conveys the plight of her characters with a realism that invites fresh reassessment of their predicaments. It's reassuring to see that another of her novels Child of Fortune is forthcoming in a reissue from Penguin Classics, as well as the two stories in Of Dogs and Walls all of which are translated by Geraldine Harcourt.

Territory of Light at Penguin Classics

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