Hiroko Oyamada: いたちなく (Weasels in the Attic)

The latest addition to my website is Hiroko Oyamada‘s いたちなく (Weasels in the Attic). This book consists of three linked stories. In the first the unnamed narrator and his friend Saiki visit Shuzo Urabe who had an exotic fish shop which has closed. He now lives above the shop with his wife and daughter, The narrator is envious of the baby – he and his wife have been trying for a baby without success – but the focus is on the mating habits of the fish, Urabe dies and the narrator and his wife visit Saiki, now married and living in the country and plagued by weasels in the attic. The narrator’s wife tells how her father dealt with the problem. They visit again when Saiki and his wife have a baby and they get caught in a snowstorm and have have to spend the night in a room where the fish are kept, including the jumping bonytongue. The book is about fertility – humans and animals – and marriage but Oyamada’s skill is to insert little episodes which make us uneasy.

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