Minae Mizumura: 本格小説 新潮社 (A True Novel)


The latest addition to my website is Minae Mizumura‘s 本格小説 新潮社 (A True Novel). This book has been very well received both in Japan and elsewhere and, perhaps not surprisingly, had appeared in other European languages before appearing in English earlier this year. It was worth the wait. It is a superb Japanese take on the Wuthering Heights story, but told in that languid style that the Japanese (used to) do so well. It has the Cathy-Heathcliff tragic love affair but is also an exploration of memory and the past, the joys of the Japanese countryside, complex family relations and the nature of the novel. Minamura, who has lived and taught in the United States and is familiar with Western literature, tells the story of a novelist called Minae Mizumura who tells the story told to her by a young man who got much of it from a Japanese woman, about Taro Azuma, a man who had a difficult early life but managed to get himself to the United States and, by dint of hard work and brain power, became very rich, all the while struggling with reconciling himself with his past, which included his Japanese birth and Yoko, his Cathy Earnshaw. Some critics have said that it is too long and too slow. I was not bored for a minute and enjoyed every word of it. I can thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in the modern novel.

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