By Giles Murray
Kodansha International, 349 pp., 2,520 yen
This bilingual book features three popular works of fiction by major Japanese authors–Yukigunisho (Snow Country Miniature) by Yasunari Kawabata, Yukoku (Patriotism) by Yukio Mishima and Himitsu (The Secret) by Junichiro Tanizaki.
Giles Murray, author of Breaking into Japanese Literature and 13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese, chose these works to help Japanese-language learners find their way into the world of classic Japanese literature. Although they are short stories, each of these works displays its author’s characteristic use of language.
At the bottom of each page is a Japanese-English dictionary that explains the difficult kanji and Japanese phrases used in the text above. Mini-biographies of each author are provided at the beginning of each story, along with a photo, a brief preface and an illustration that conveys the essence of the story.
Although the book targets non-Japanese readers by presenting Japanese literature in an easy-to-read format, it might also be good for Japanese English learners to study how these Japanese classics can be translated into natural English.
(Nov. 22, 2007)
Review by Daily Yomiuri