The narrator of Kim Hye-jin’s Concerning My Daughter believes that “some things aren’t spoken out loud.” As she ages, she doesn’t want to discuss the lack of facilities willing to care for the elderly. And as a mother, she doesn’t want to talk about her adult daughter, who doesn’t have stable employment and is involved in a long-term relationship with a woman. She keeps quiet, ignoring the messiness of reality and guarding these thoughts in her head.
The prolific career of acclaimed mystery and detective fiction author Seicho Matsumoto spanned the latter half of the 20th century. His 1958 novel, Tokyo Express, provides a glimpse into daily life during the postwar period in Japan. Previously published in English a generation ago under the title Points and Lines, the novel has been freshly translated by Jesse Kirkwood. As Kiichi Mihara of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police connects the dots of the case, he relies on the country’s reliable and punctual train system. His investigation is supported by veteran Jutaro Torigai of the Fukuoka Police.
“The Former Postmaster” recounts walking the pilgrimage path to deliver a telegram to the opposite side of Shiraishi Island, “The Cargo Ship Captain” remembers celebrating a new boat at the last launch party on the island, and “The Stonecutter” describes working at the old stone factory before retirement. These are just a few of the eponymous chapters in Amy Chavez’s The Widow, The Priest and the Octopus Hunter: Discovering a Lost Way of Life on a Secluded Japanese Island.
There is a word in Japanese—komorebi—that refers to the way sun shines through the trees, casting a sea of soft, dark shadows scattered with gleams of light, a phenomenon reflected in the title of Riku Onda’s most recently-translated psychological thriller Fish Swimming in Dappled Sunlight.
It was in the late 1930s that private detective Kosuke Kindaichi solved The Honjin Murders, the brutal killing of a newlywed couple in Okayama. Military service has prevented him from investigating another case since. Death on Gokumon Island, the second book in the Detective Kindaichi Mystery series by Seishi Yokomizo, begins just after the Second World War, and soldiers are returning home.
Rolled omelet, fried mackerel, chicken skewers, vegetable takiawase are just a few of the signature menu items at Namiki-ya, the place for the best appetizers and latest local gossip in Kikuno. Despite the convivial atmosphere they maintain in their restaurant, the eponymous Namiki family are coming off a tragic loss of a few years earlier—their eldest daughter Saori, who was preparing for a career as a professional singer, disappeared from their quiet Tokyo neighborhood.