Angry women hold a special place in Japanese folklore. Many of Japan’s best-known tales are about “vengeful ghosts”, almost always women, who wreak havoc on the living for some perceived wrong.
Tragedy finds its ideal form when a good character is partially responsible for her own downfall, which should unfold with the slow and inexorable force of a moral sentencing. Or so said Aristotle. Likewise, an irresistible blend of pity, horror, and satisfaction emerges through each of Ha Seong-nan’s short stories in this new collection. Even if not all of Ha’s characters are “good”, they still prove to be pitifully wretched creatures.
A House is a Body is the first book-length outing for two-time O Henry Award-winner Shruti Swamy. Most of the stories have been published separately before in such journals as The Paris Review, but they take on a particular strength when arranged together in a collection. Some take place in India, others in the West, but the power of the book rests in those stories that subtly show how women have traditionally not been recognized for the nurturing roles they take up.
Is it possible to capture the essence of a city as large as Tokyo in a single book? Debut author Nick Bradley pretty much manages exactly that with this exceptional collection of intricately connected short stories.
A raven-haired young woman in a red dress is the deity which presides over this slim collection of eight short stories set in modern-day Macau.
The histories of Japan and the United States have been intertwined for a hundred and fifty years. In her new collection of similarly interrelated short stories, Asako Serizawa both mines events from this history as well as reaches into the future.
For my generation, born after the “Renovation” reform of Đổi Mới in 1986, “The War”—as most Vietnamese call what almost everyone else calls the Vietnam War—only exists in history books.