Touring the Land of the Dead
A mesmerizing combination of two tales about memory, loss and love, both told with stylistic inventiveness and breath-taking sensitivity.
Taichi was forced to stop working almost a decade ago and since then he and his wife Natsuko have been getting by on her part-time wages. But Natsuko is a woman accustomed to hardship. When her own family’s fortune dried up years during her childhood, she, her brother, and her mother lived a surreal hand-to-mouth existence shaped by her mother’s refusal to accept their new station in life.
One day, Natsuko sees an ad for a spa and recognizes the place as the former luxury hotel that Natsuko’s grandfather had taken her mother to when she was little. She decides to take her damaged husband to the spa, despite the cost, but their time there triggers hard but ultimately redemptive memories relating to the complicated history of her family. The overnight trip becomes a voyage into the netherworld – a journey to the doors of death and back to life.
Modelled on a classic story by Junichiro Tanizaki, Ninety-Nine Kisses is the second story in this book and it portrays in touching and lyrical fashion the lives of the four unmarried sisters in a historical, close-knit neighbourhood of contemporary Tokyo.
About the Author
Maki Kashimada is a multi-award winning novelist well known for her avant-garde style. She was awarded the Akutagawa Prize for Touring the Land of the Dead. She has been a follower of the Japanese Orthodox Church since high school and was married to a member of its clergy.
Haydn Trowell is a literary translator who specializes in contemporary Japanese fiction, and the translator of Maki Kashimada’ Akutagawa Prize-winning novel Touring the Land of the Dead. He holds a doctorate in translation studies and literary stylistics from Monash University, Australia.
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