Author Archive

The Power of Love in A Little Devil in America

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Hanif Abdurraqib bases much of what he writes on the things he loves, whether that be music or literature, basketball or sneakers. It's through his love that he is able to reveal insights into artists and performers themselves, as well as the way that history links to the present—both

The Human Stories Behind Objects in The Nakano Thrift Shop

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Initially, the titular secondhand store seems to be the focus of Hiromi Kawakami’s 2005 novel. As the story progresses, however, it becomes increasingly clear that the shop is simply the backdrop for what Kawakami is actually interested in: the odd quirks of human interaction.

The Social Effects of Technology in Terminal Boredom

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
In the late Izumi Suzuki’s English language debut, readers are dropped into worlds in which characters have acclimated to the advanced technologies available to them; as a result, we get a deep exploration into how technological innovations have impacted—or not—human interaction.

The Interrogation of Trauma, Love, and Work in Made in China

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Anna Qu’s debut memoir unravels assumptions about immigration, labor, and trauma at both the personal and collective level, demonstrating how many seemingly disparate elements of our lives are deeply connected.

Loneliness and Parasocial Relationships in The Woman in the Purple Skirt

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Natsuko Imamura's 2019 novel reads at first glance as a fairly straightforward psychological thriller, with voyeurism is at its center. Imamura, however, also explores a deeper psychological entanglement, stemming from a desire to connect when social interaction feels like an insurmountable barrier.

The Exploration of Memory in Things Remembered and Things Forgotten

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
While the objectivity of memory—and even its actual substance—is consistently brought into question in Kyoko Nakajima’s stories, what remains clear are the emotions attached to the act of remembering and the way these emotions meaningfully link individuals or objects across time.

The Absurdity of Labor in There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Kikuko Tsumura’s most recent novel is a smart—and humorous—exploration into the emotional toll labor can have on individuals in a hyper-consumerist, capitalist system.

Hope in the Apocalypse

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Octavia Butler and Yoko Tawada balance the pain of life in a post-apocalyptic future with stories of human resilience, offering readers some spark of hope in a future that seems hopeless.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning’s Exploration of Solidarity

Author: | Categories: Critical Essays No comments
Though published in 2020 before the advent of the pandemic and the racial unrest that marked the year, Cathy Park Hong’s collection of essays explores the complexities of Asian American identity in ways that speak to the conversations around racial identity and solidarity that continue into 2021.

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.