“Imagine a man in his fifties disappointed to have reached middle age so quickly…”
SCANT as a haiku, we open with all the usual everyday details of life scrubbed out by the obsession. S reads a magazine to which he subscribes but has no title, he has work colleagues but only later do we discover he is, symbolically, the weatherman and only after that his name, Shimura. We know from the out that it is a true story or one that appeared in the newspapers in Japan in 2008, the middle aged, bachelor salaryman living alone in a neighbourhood so safe he leaves his front door unlocked. He is so shy he avoids going drinking with his colleagues. Strange things start to happen…
“At times like this the brain investigates, reconstructs, corroborates, deduces, unpicks, juxtaposes, supposes, calculates, suspects.”
He is being stalked? The story will take a decisive fork which allows for an explosive, political finale asking questions about the inheritance of modern Japan. “She knew better than to leave memories knocking about in a hall of mirrors where they would go mad, like a seagull trapped inside a room”.
Short, tight and thought-provoking.
Faye has been widely recognized in France – this is another translation from the excellent Emily Boyce at Gallic Books – and won the Academie Francaise Big Prize for a novel in 2010.