Realm of the Dead

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Dalkey Archive Press, 2006 - Fiction - 229 pages
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Realm of the Dead describes the lands of both the living and the dead. In this collection of short stories, they are equally dark and mysterious worlds where logic and reality are subject to constant change and where ideas about identity and self are continually questioned. Considered one of the foremost innovators of Japanese modernism, Hyakken incorporates a distinctly non-Western set of myths and folklore to evoke a society -- and a people -- on the brink of enormous change.

 

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Contents

Fireworks
3
Jintoshi
9
Kudan
17
The Echo
23
The Lizard
29
Seaweed
38
The Short Night
45
The Stone Pavement
53
The Bowler Hat
97
The War Museum
127
The Reflection
143
The Narrow Straw Mat
156
The Lieutenants Killer
172
The Heron
187
The Hill
200
The Forerunner
214

The Albino
61
The Leopard
71
Preface
81
Wisteria
228
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About the author (2006)

Hyakken Uchida (1889--1971) was born in Okayama to a family of sake brewers whose business later went bankrupt. He started submitting his creative writing to magazines while still in secondary school and came to greatly admire the novelist Soseki Natsume. In 1911 he met Soseki, then in the hospital for a stomach ulcer, thereafter becoming his disciple. Following graduation from college he taught at various institutions, including the army academy and Hosei University, but abandoned his teaching career after 1934. His major works include the short-story anthologies Realm of the Dead and Triumphant March into Port Arthur (both tr. 2006 under the title Realm of the Dead); Tokyo shojin (Tokyo in Ruins), a painstakingly detailed depiction of life in Tokyo during and immediately after World War II; Aho ressha (Idiot Train), a series of humorous short stories about train travel; and Gansaku wagahai wa neko de aru (The Counterfeit "I Am a Cat").

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