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Manazuru

A Novel

List Price: $16.95

November 14, 2017 | Paperback | 5.5 x 8.25, 224 pages | ISBN 9781640090187
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Both startlingly restless and immaculately compact, Manazuru paints the portrait of a woman on the brink of her own memories and future.

Twelve years have passed since Kei’s husband, Rei, disappeared and she was left alone with her three-year-old daughter. Her new relationship with a married man—the antithesis of Rei— has brought her life to a numbing stasis, and her relationships with her mother and daughter have spilled into routine, day after day. Kei begins making repeated trips to the seaside town of Manazuru, a place that jogs her memory to a moment in time she can never quite locate. Her time there by the water encompasses years of unsteady footing and a developing urgency to find something.

Through a poetic style embracing the surreal and grotesque, a quiet tenderness emerges from these dark moments. Manazuru is a meditation on memory—a profound, precisely delineated exploration of the relationships between lovers and family members.

Bestselling author HIROMI KAWAKAMI’s acclaim for her essays, stories, and novels include the Pascal Short Story Prize for New Writers and the Akutagawa Prize. Her novel Strange Weather in Tokyo was short-listed for the 2013 Man Asian Literary Prize and the 2014 International Foreign Fiction Prize. Manazuru won the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission prize. She lives in Japan, where she taught biology and is a member of the Science Fiction Research Association.

Michael Emmerich is the translator of several books, He holds a PhD in Japanese Literature from Columbia university and was a Costen Postoctoral Fellow at Princeton University.

Praise

“In Kawakami’s first novel to be translated into English, a woman fades in and out of the present as she visits the beach town of Manazuru, in the shadow of Mt. Fuji. Kei’s husband disappeared when their daughter, Momo, was three. Momo is now 12 and lives with Kei and Kei’s mother in Tokyo. Moments shared among the women are pleasant but awkward, due to three generations of unspoken resentment. Some jarring transitions aside, Kawakami’s handling of temporal space feels authentic: as Kei kisses her lover in one time and place, the wetness leaves her lips in another; she sits alone on a bench in Tokyo. The real and the fantastical meld as Kei narrowly avoids disaster (she escapes the typhoon that destroys the restaurant where she was dining). Her memories are startlingly vivid, yet their veracity remains uncertain; are the visions she has of her husband with another woman real or imagined? Kawakami has a remarkable ability to obscure reality, fantasy, and memory, making the desire for love feel hauntingly real.” —Publishers Weekly

“It’s one of those unexpected titles that wear better with time; it needs to sort of ‘sit’ after reading to fully appreciate.” —Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center

“A beautiful and profound story of loss and memory . . . Subtle, poetic . . . Ultimately powerful.” —Book Riot

“The action convincingly moves in waves between Kei’s past and present, the surreal and the everyday. Part ghost story, part meditation on life and death, family and self, this slim novel is captivating and suspenseful, and sure to satisfy not only fans of ghost fiction but all readers.” —Booklist

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