isle

The latest addition to my website is Keizo Hino‘s 夢の島 (Isle of Dreams). Keizo Hino has been compared to J G Ballard and, while they are different in many ways, they do share an interest in the urban landscape, particularly urban decay and high rises. This novel tells of Shozo Sakai, a widower in his fifties who works for a company that builds high rise buildings in Tokyo. He spends much of his free time exploring Tokyo and, by chance, comes across the reclaimed land in Tokyo, created by the rubbish produced in Tokyo. He starts to get a mild obsession about this area of land, with only a few warehouses, so near a major world city. He meets a woman motorcyclist and becomes mildly (though only mildly) obsessed with her. When he helps her later after she falls off her motorcycle, she takes him on an exploration of a part of the city that very few people know exists, even though it is right under their noses, but it is an area that is both fascinating and dangerous. Hino tells an excellent tale of his city and how it is both familiar and mysterious at the same time, even to someone who knows it well.