Author Archive

Delusion and Reality in Earthlings

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Sayaka Murata’s latest novel to be translated into English explores the way individuals try to move through a world that, ultimately, doesn’t make sense.

The Personal and The Ecological in Two Trees Make a Forest

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Jessica J. Lee’s 2019 book exists in the space between environmental history, cultural history, and memoir. While readers will get a sense of Lee’s exploration of personal identity by the end of the book, they will also gain a deeper understanding of the ties between history and the natural

The Failure of Familial Communication in Happiness, as Such

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Natalia Ginzburg presents a family’s dysfunction as an engrossing emotional rollercoaster, yet manages to make her story both haunting and deeply human.

Tokyo Ueno Station’s Anti-Stereotypical Portrayal of Homelessness

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Yu Miri directly tackles homelessness in Japan in her 2014 novel, focusing on the memories and reflections of the ghost of a homeless migrant manual laborer, Kazu, as he wanders through the titular park, which had been his home.

The Reimagined Tales of Where the Wild Ladies Are

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
The stories in Matsuda Aoko’s 2016 collection encourage us to change how we understand stories—whether that be the folktales we tell children or the larger national myths we hold on to as adults—and to see where we can break away from received narratives into new futures.

What Do Our Monsters Say About Us?

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
A new collection of essays, edited by Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, offers readers a digestible and critical examination of the monstrous as a way to force us to consider the politics behind what we deem monstrous, and how a deeper understanding of what haunts us may lead to a new,

The Myth of the Perfect Translation

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
David Karashima’s new book lays bare the invisible structures that support the international career of someone like Murakami: the multiple translators, editors, and publicists that take his work and create it into the product that Western readers then consume.

Womanhood in Breasts and Eggs

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Mieko Kawakami’s 2008 novel addresses the multifaceted nature of what it means to move through the world as a woman, which means presenting womanhood in a variety of ways, ages, and life experiences.

Reading the Uncanny

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In the work of Carmen Maria Machado and Sequoia Nagamatsu, the uncanny elements that might be unsettling for readers are stand-ins for very familiar things: the complexities of interpersonal relationships and the hardships that some have while moving through the world in the bodies they were born with.

The Shape of Nations

One cannot simply outgrow or outlive a colonial, racist history. In order for the system to change, we need to stare at it and acknowledge it for what it is.