“Diary of a Perfect Night” by Hiromi Kawakami

“After all, in the folklore of the country, women often pose transcendent threats to the symbolic order. So who could be more apt to claim these stories, investigate their hidden power, and cast them into the fight against the excesses of the new age?” (Los Angeles Review of Books )

This wonderful book, winner of the 1996 Akutagawa Prize, ends with a concluding word of the author, one of the most famous Japanese writers (translated in our country even by Polirum Publishing House), which primarily addresses fans of the novel. “I really like to write something. But when I start writing about real events, it’s as if my hands are freezing and not working. But if they’re not real events, but all sorts of things that my mind thought and imagined, the writing would go smoothly, on its own, Regardless of the topic.Secretly, I call my novels “Incorrect Stories.” The three “Incorrect Stories” collected in this volume were written between the second half of 1995 and the first half of 1996. I wrote first “Diary of a Perfect Night,” and then When you step on the snake, and finally,< الاختفاء >>. When I write “untrue stories,” even my facial features take on a false face, and if someone addresses me in those moments, I get the impression that I only condone lies. Probably because I’m totally immersed in Fantasyland. Fantasy land was next to real land, with areas that sometimes overlapped with real land. Fantasyland has a narrow entrance, but it covers an incredibly vast area. (…) If among those reading these lines there are people who like “fantasy”, then I invite you to play a little inside the novel that you have created. I would be very happy if you did. Thank you very much.”

The editors add to this text, increasing the interest of the potential reader: imperfection is no exception. Here you will find three stories that will stay in your mind and haunt you long after you read them. “I am your mother, dear Hywako!” The coiled serpent insists on the pillar in the woman’s house. In a family that must have no more than or less than five members by law, the girl is the only one who can see her missing brother. A strange character escapes in the endless night, attacked by the mole man, the little boy who throws squirrels and kiwis, while his girlfriend is broken into thousands of pieces, constantly rejuvenating and regenerating. In the real universe, there is another hint, a dream in a dream, an absurd, cosmic, tortuous world, full of symbols waiting to be discovered.”

“Three evocative stories, as if from Kafka’s notebooks, describe the strange transformations that some quite ordinary people go through as they look at their lives. (…]Hiromi Kawakami leaves a warning mark on the map of the world of Japanese literature: henceforth the world of dragons or Snakes and ghosts anyway. Amazing, weird and wonderful.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Hiromi Kawakami has been able to show us how we have become indifferent to the mysteries and quirks of everyday life, the strange way people can disappear from our lives at any time, and the sense of sadness, mourning, and emptiness they leave behind.” (Japan Times)

Hiromi Kawakami – The Journal of Unending Nights. Translation from the Japanese Diana Tehan. Polirum Publishing House. 191 p.

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