A Shameful Life: (Ningen Shikkaku), Osamu Dazai, Mark Gibeau (trans) (Stone Bridge Press, November 2018)
A Shameful Life: (Ningen Shikkaku), Osamu Dazai, Mark Gibeau (trans) (Stone Bridge Press, November 2018)

Osamu Dazai is one of the most famous—and infamous—writers of 20th-century Japan. A Shameful Life (Ningen shikkaku) is his final published work and has become a bestselling classic for its depiction of the tortured struggle of a young man to survive in a world that he cannot comprehend.

A few years ago, Robert Dankoff and Sooyong Kim edited a much-needed and generous selection of Evliya Çelebi’s Seyhatname or Book of Travels. Evliya (1611-1682) spent the better part of forty years traveling around the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia Minor; he’s perhaps the best-known of all Ottoman explorers and travelers, which is not to say a great deal, because non-European travel-writers are still sadly under-represented in English translation.