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Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge
Cover of Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge
Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge
Two Novellas of Japan's 3/11 Disaster
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In these two novellas, Kimura Yūsuke explores human and animal life in northern Japan after the natural and nuclear disasters of March 11, 2011. Kimura inscribes the "Triple Disaster" into a rich...
In these two novellas, Kimura Yūsuke explores human and animal life in northern Japan after the natural and nuclear disasters of March 11, 2011. Kimura inscribes the "Triple Disaster" into a rich...
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  • In these two novellas, Kimura Yūsuke explores human and animal life in northern Japan after the natural and nuclear disasters of March 11, 2011. Kimura inscribes the "Triple Disaster" into a rich regional tradition of storytelling, incorporating far-flung voices and experiences to testify to life and the desire to represent it in the aftermath of calamity.

    In Sacred Cesium Ground, a woman from Tokyo travels to volunteer at a cattle farm known as the "Fortress of Hope," tending irradiated animals abandoned after the reactor meltdown. The farm closely resembles an actual ranch that has been widely covered in Japan, and the story's portrayal of those who stubbornly care for animals in spite of the danger speaks to the sense of futility and meaningfulness in the wake of traumatic events. Isa's Deluge depicts a family of fishermen whose crotchety patriarch draws on old tales of the floods that have plagued the region to fashion himself as the father of the tsunami. Together, the novellas present often-unheard voices of one of Japan's peripheral regions and their anger toward the government and Tokyo for mishandling and forgetting their part of the country. Kimura's command of dialect and conversational language is masterfully translated by Doug Slaymaker. Postapocalyptically surreal yet teeming with life, Kimura's stories will be a revelation for readers looking for a new perspective on the disaster's consequences for Japan and on the interrelated meanings of human and animal lives and deaths.

About the Author-

  • Yūsuke Kimura (b. 1970) lived near Fukushima, Japan, until moving to Tokyo for university. His "Seagull Treehouse" (2009) won the 33rd Subaru Prize. Isa's Deluge (2012) was a finalist for the Mishima Yukio Prize, and Sacred Cesium Ground was a finalist for the Noma Literary Prize. His most recently published work is a 230-page feature in the prestigious Shinchō journal, entitled A Portrait of Stray Humans Going Up in Flames.

Table of Contents-

  • Sacred Cesium Ground
    Isa's Deluge
    Afterword

Reviews-

  • Booklist

    December 1, 2018
    Kimura makes his Anglophoned debut with two haunting novellas that are slight in length yet dense with meaning, enhancing the growing genre of post-3/11 literature in response to the catastrophic March 11, 2011, Tohoku earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Translator Slaymaker augments the genre's accessibility, having previously rendered Hideo Furukawa's post-3/11 Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure (2016). Slaymaker's thorough afterword here provides an illuminating discussion of Kimura's literary history, the sociopolitical context of the three-part tragedy, and the challenges of converting a specific local dialect into English. In both novellas, Kimura adroitly presents everyday human challenges in the midst of unfathomable disaster: in Sacred Cesium Ground, a woman trapped in an abusive marriage leaves Tokyo to volunteer at "the Fortress of Hope," a renegade sanctuary (resembling a real-life ranch) for surviving irradiated cows. In Isa's Deluge, an unemployed Tokyo editor returns home for his middle-school reunion to find the small fishing village, including his own troubled family, angrily struggling to navigate a post-cataclysmic future. Kimura's novellas offer a piercing portrait of the abandoned and forgotten.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2018, American Library Association.)

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Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge
Sacred Cesium Ground and Isa's Deluge
Two Novellas of Japan's 3/11 Disaster
Kimura Yūsuke
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Kimura Yūsuke
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