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Minako Ōba: Of Birds Crying

169 OfBirdsCrying
Michiko N. WILSON and Michael K. WILSON, trans.
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A New Japanese Horizons Series title.

Of  Birds Crying (Naku tori no, 1985), the recipient of the Noma Bungei Prize, is loosely based on the author’s own life, recounting six months in the lives of Yurie Mama, a well-established middle-aged novelist married to Shōzō, a scientist. In this deeply psychological novel, a tapestry of extraordinary moments expands and interconnects via interior monologues and dialogues ranging from the humorous and farcical to the somber and meditative. Acutely perceptive social and cross-cultural commentaries fill the narrator’s voice and the characters’ conversations. Long-forgotten incidents come back to life, triggered by the sight of an ancient tree, the name of a flower, or the crying of a bird, and memories spawn tales within tales. Despite the fact that the characters’ motives for their actions defy prediction, these seemingly disparate elements are woven into a coherent whole, a reflection of the interdependency of humanity and nature in its wholeness that is one of the many underlying threads of the story. | 274 pages

Author and Translators
  • Minako ŌBA (1930-2007), one of the finest writers of modern Japanese literature, published over thirty novels, numerous short stories, literary biographies, essays, and a collection of poetry.
  • Michiko Niikuni WILSON is Professor of Japanese language and literature at the University of Virginia.
  • Michael K. WILSON is an information specialist at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Library.

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