26 June 2012

Hikaru Okuizumi, The Stones Cry Out, 1993

Tsuyoshi Manase is a haunted World War Two veteran who received his first lesson in geology from a dying Japanese soldier in a cave in the Philippines. After the war ends he indulges his passion for collecting stones, runs a small bookstore, marries unhappily and fathers two sons, but how he struggles with his memories of the war ends up shaping the present and the tragic destiny of his family. This was Okuizumi’s first novel to be translated into English. It’s delicate and sorrowful with elements of strangeness, particularly in how Manase’s memories, dreams and reality all blur in such a way that he never quite gets a grip on his life as his family falls apart. Okuizumi writes elegantly and he’s clearly meditated on the story he’s telling, although he requires a bit of patience from the reader as he ties up Manase’s inner story with his family life and the world beyond. A quietly powerful book.  PY

  The Stones Cry Out won Japan’s Akutagawa Prize in 1994.


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