Toddler-hunting & Other Stories

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New Directions, 1996 - Fiction - 266 pages
8 Reviews
Toddler-Hunting & Other Stories introduces to American readers a startlingly original voice. Kono Taeko has won all of Japan's major literary prizes for fiction (among them the Akutagawa, the Tanizaki, the Noma, and the Yomiuri). Her disquieting stories, with their strange beauty and undercurrent of sadomasochism, bring to mind Tanizaki, but in a new vein. Subtly ruthless, they lift the latch on complacent views of womanhood.
In the title story, the protagonist loathes young girls, but she compulsively buys expensive clothes for little boys so that she can watch them struggle to dress and undress. The impersonal gaze Kono Taeko turns on this behavior transfixes the reader with a fatal question: What are we hunting for? And why?
Exploring freedom and bondage, these stories refract light from the strangely facing mirrors of fantasy and reality; pain and pleasure; the active and the passive. As the tales consider the possibilities, implications, and limitations of romantic masochism, Kono Taeko's narrative voice gives the impression of being "inside" and "outside" at once. Viewing couples' shifting complex power issues through the eyes of women, the author indirectly addresses their position in the world. And with a brave, eerie stylistic purity, Kono Taeko renders the unpronounceable palpable.

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Review: Toddler-Hunting & Other Stories

User Review  - Tracy Robertson - Goodreads

While a few of the things in here were a little too disturbing, I have to give the book 5 stars overall for the character building and the plots. For the characters jumping off the pages and making me feel like I knew them well, and was right there watching them. Hard to put down! Read full review

Review: Toddler-Hunting & Other Stories

User Review  - Katie - Goodreads

Excited to have discovered these stories. The big guns in Japanese fiction seem to be like 99% male, but Kono Taeko is all, you guys think *you're* weird? Will someone please translate more of her work, please? Read full review


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