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Inside and Other Short Fiction: Japanese Women by Japanese Womenby Cathy Layne
"The quality of these stories is uneven, varying widely from piece to piece. But what some may lack in literary merit is made up for by what they offer collectively: a still-rare glimpse into the lives of Japanese women. As contemporary harbingers of a writing tradition that began a thousand years ago with Lady Murasaki Shikibu's The Tale of Genji, these writers capture small and large moments of the everyday. Thankfully, you'll find no Hollywood geishas here...just women living — and surviving — the challenges of their daily lives." Terry Hong, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Synopses & Reviews
Fresh, bold, and vibrant, Inside and Other Short Fiction paints a vivid portrait of the lives of contemporary Japanese women through the most original, thoughtful, and cutting-edge fiction from Japanese women writers today.
With provocative titles such as "Piss," "The Unfertilized Egg," and "My Son's Lips," these eight short stories explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society, where women have unprecedented sexual and economic freedom. From teens to fifties; married, single, divorced; the high school girl, the career woman, the sex worker, the housewife, the mother — this anthology deals frankly and explicitly with a broad range of women's experiences, and showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women.
With eight short stories from Amy Yamada, Chiya Fujino, Shungiku Uchida, Tamaki Daido, Rio Shimamoto, Yuzuki Muroi, Junko Hasegawa, and Nobuko Takagi, this anthology presents a range of styles and perspectives from long-established favorites, prize-winning novelists, and outspoken newcomers — many of whom are published here for the first time in English. The foreword is by award-winning Japanese-American novelist Ruth Ozeki, author of My Year of Meats, and the jacket art is a section of ID400 by internationally renowned artist Tomoko Sawara, whose striking photo-booth images of herself in various guises question her own identity and the identity of all women.
"Bold stories by and about Japanese women who scorn the veneer of politesse and powder....Let's hope that more such books will follow — and that, in the process, Japanese women will continue to recast themselves in their own images." Elle Magazine
"Divorce, marriage, infidelity, apathy, boredom, and sex are frankly explored in tales that never veer toward the sentimental or overwrought....Move over, Haruki Murakami." Booklist
"Eight short stories about contemporary Japanese women grappling with the darker sides of sexuality....Not exactly cheery or uplifting — as if the eight women writers share the same depressed consciousness." Kirkus Reviews
Collection of eight short works--"cutting-edge fiction from today's Japanese women writers--"that explores the universal issues of female identity, and deals frankly and explicitly with a broad range of women's experiences. *Foreword by American novelist Ruth Ozeki; jacket art by world renowned photographer Tomoko Sawada.
Inside and other short fiction showcases the very best of recent writing by Japanese women writers today-including prize-winning novelists and authors never before published in English-as they explore the issue of female identity in a rapidly changing society.
AMY YAMADA ("Fiesta"), widely published overseas and with many fans among Western readers, offers us a sophisticated psychological portrait of a sexually repressed woman. TAMAKI DAIDO ("Milk"), winner of the Akutagawa Prize in 2002, and talented young newcomer RIO SHIMAMOTO ("Inside"), paint two very different pictures of teenage life. The trials of a busy working mother are depicted by SHUNGIKU UCHIDA ("My Son's Lips"), who shocked Japan in 1993 with the publication of her novel, Father Fucker. YUZUKI MUROI ("Piss"), a prolific, popular and outspoken essayist, novelist and TV commentator, tells the sexually explicit and very moving story of a young Tokyo prostitute. Winner of the 1999 Akutagawa Prize, CHIYA FUJINO ("Her Room"), delves into the relationship between two women, one divorced and one single, with a subtle and powerful tale. Well-known essayist, JUNKO HASEGAWA ("The Unfertilized Egg") , makes a first foray into fiction with a hard-hitting portrait of the single thirty-something lifestyle. NOBUKO TAKAGI ("The Shadow of the Orchid") is a highly respected member of the Japanese literary establishment, and winner of many prizes, including the Akutagawa Prize in 1984. Her short story is a sensitive depiction of a moment of crisis in the life of a fifty-year-old housewife.
About the Author
RUTH OZEKI is the popular and award-winning Japanese-American author of My Year of Meats and All Over Creation. She divides her time between New York and British Columbia.
The jacket art is a section of ID400 by TOMOKO SAWADA, an artist famous both in Japan and overseas for striking photographic images that question the identity of women.
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