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Parade: A Folktale
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About the Author

HIROMI KAWAKAMI was born in Tokyo in 1958. Her first book, God (Kamisama) was published in 1994. In 1996, she was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for Tread on a Snake (Hebi o fumu), and in 2001 she won the Tanizaki Prize for her novel Strange Weather in Tokyo (Sensei no kaban), which was an international bestseller. The book was short-listed for the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize and the 2014 International Foreign Fiction Prize.

ALLISON MARKIN POWELL is a translator, editor, and publishing consultant. In addition to Hiromi Kawakami's Strange Weather in Tokyo, The Nakano Thrift Shop, and The Ten Loves of Nishino, she has translated books by Osamu Dazai and Fuminori Nakamura, and her work has appeared in Words Without Borders and Granta, among other publications. She maintains the database japaneseliteratureinenglish.com.

Reviews

Praise for Strange Weather in Tokyo (previously published as The Briefcase)

"Simply and earnestly told, this is a profound exploration of human connection and the ways love can be found in surprising new places." BuzzFeed "A sweet and poignant story of love and loneliness . . . A beautiful introductory book to Kawakami's distinct style." Book Riot "In quiet, nature-infused prose that stresses both characters' solitude, Kawakami subtly captures the cyclic patterns of loneliness while weighing the definition of love." --Booklist "In its love of the physical, sensual details of living, its emotional directness, and above all in the passion for food, this is somewhat reminiscent of Banana Yoshimoto's Kitchen." --Independent (UK) "Each chapter of the book is like a haiku, incorporating seasonal references to the moon, mushroom picking and cherry blossoms. The chapters are whimsical and often melancholy, but humor is never far away . . . It is a celebration of friendship, the ordinary and individuality and a rumination on intimacy, love and loneliness. I cannot recommend Strange Weather in Tokyo enough, which is also a testament to the translator who has skillfully retained the poetry and beauty of the original." --Japan Society "Strange Weather in Tokyo is a tender love story that drifts with the lightness of a leaf on a stream. Subtle and touching, this is a novel about loneliness, assuaged by an unlikely romance, and brought to life by one of Japan's most engaging contemporary writers." --Readings (Australia) "A dreamlike spell of a novel, full of humor, sadness, warmth, and tremendous subtlety. I read this in one sitting, and I think it will haunt me for a long time." --Amy Sackville Praise for Manazuru "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. 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 "The Manazuru of Kawakami's is a dream state as much as a place, a seaside town visited often by the restless narrator, Kei. Kei's husband vanished more than a decade ago, and only now, living in Tokyo with her mother and sullen 16-year-old daughter, is she compelled to put his memory to rest. Kei is haunted not only by her husband but also inexplicably by other shadow-like entities. She is drawn again and again to Manazuru, where she enters a world where time stops, sound evaporates, women hang from trees, boats spark into flame and disappear, and ghosts come and go like smoke. Yet the fantasy has purpose as a manifestation of Kei's sense of displacement, and of her estrangement from her daughter and mother. 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 Praise for Record of a Night Too Brief "Baffling, unsettling and haunting, these tales have a dreamlike atmosphere, rather like Salvador Dali's pictures--anything can happen." --The Lady (UK) Praise for The Nakano Thrift Shop "Subtle, graceful, wise, and threaded on a quirky humor, this exploration of the connections and disconnections between people kept me smiling long after the last page." --Julia Rochester, author of The House at the Edge of the World "The Nakano Thrift Shop is really a love story, albeit a very offbeat one . . . A gentle book, full of charm [and] radiating leftfield charisma." --Emerald Street "Kawakami has an extraordinarily way of drawing you into her ethereal world where, although nothing really happens, when they do, little transgressions or events cause ripples that spread seamlessly throughout the whole book and stay with you long after the story has finished." --The Reprobate (UK)
Praise for Parade

"The presentation is exquisite: slightly smaller than a single hand, Kawakami's spare text is interrupted by Takako Yoshitomi's delightful two-color illustrations of mostly geometric shapes with anthropomorphized additions. Subtitled 'A Folktale, ' this less-than-100-page tome easily stands alone as a parable about memory, mythic characters, and confessional regrets, but for a lingering, sigh-inducing experience, read this only after finishing its companion, the internationally bestselling, Man Asian Literary Prize finalist, Strange Weather in Tokyo . . . An ethereal, resonating literary gift." --Booklist (starred review)

"Enigmatic novella in which the world of Japanese mythology intrudes into the mortal realm . . . Like so much of Kawakami's work, an elegant mystery that questions reality in the most ordinary of situations." --Kirkus Reviews "[Kawakami] impressively makes effective use of the short novella form to convey a world of detail . . . Simple and vivid illustrations pepper the story . . . The narration is evocative enough, but the illustrations add to the charm in this fairytale-like memory. Regardless of your age, there are moments that elicit childlike joy from the reader . . . A highly enjoyable and soothing read that leaves a lingering sentiment for the reader to reflect upon." --Daljinder Johal, Asymptote "An atmospheric novella that will delight both devotees as well as newcomers looking for something out of the ordinary." --Adam Rosenbeck, International Examiner "Here [Kawakami] goes full pelt into fantasy, leaving quirky some ways behind with a tale in which folklore and modernity collide." --Iain Maloney, The Japan Times "Part fairy tale, in which some readers will discern a moral, part gentle reminiscence of childhood's passing miracles and memorable pains, Kawakami's compact novel is gentle, charming and smart, as 'pretty . . . and sad' as the sparkling touches of the tengu." --Publishers Weekly "Brief, haunting." --Esther Allen, Words Without Borders "The word memento is a lovely and fitting description for this small companion story to Kawakami's bestselling novel Strange Weather in Tokyo . . . A moving story of kindness with the subtle and beautiful writing Kawakami's known for and captivating illustrations by Takako Yoshitomi, Parade will prove to be a precious keepsake for fans of Kawakami and Strange Weather in Tokyo." --Pierce Alquist, Book Riot "A whispered tale shared between lovers. Crisp and clear, like the breeze on a warm spring day, Hiromi Kawakami's prose shines . . . Parade captures the hazy nature of memory alongside the innocence and naivety of childhood. Nostalgic and warm, Kawakami's latest offers a fragmentary glimpse at easy companionship." --Melissa Ratcliff, Paperback Paris "A thorough delight . . . An endearing and abstract modern Japanese folk tale--a tiny little story told by one of Japan's most precious and beloved contemporary writers." --Will Heath, Books and Bao

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