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What a halcyon glow our childhood must have for you Your children You were surrounded by their bubbly laughter their ound cheeks shining with health Their sweet fragrance enveloped you Everything in sight glittered a dazzling gold When spring breezes blew the light streamed through the air It was a place of such beauty Such happiness This little book in the Penguin Modern series consists of two interlocking stories by the Japanese novelist Yuko Tsushima 1947 2016 which have been ecently translated into English for the first time Like Her Novel Territory her novel Territory Light both stories seem strongly connected to Tsushima s personal life experiences life as a single mother and the death of her father the novelist Osamu Dazai in the first story the death of her elder brother in the second In the first story The Watery Realm 1982 the death of the writer story The Watery Realm 1982 the death of the writer drowned himself together with his young lover in 1948 when Yuko Tsushima was one year old is thematised it is a stunningly imaginative evocation of the haunting impact of that chosen death on the lives of his widow and their three children ingenuously narrated from the shifting perspectives of both his widow and the youngest daughterAnother theme is the difficult mother daughter elationship and the different views both mother and daughter have on the childhood days focussing on the possibilities and limits of shared memory While the mother ecalls a blissful state of simple harmony within the family knitting peacefully in her garden of flowers surrounded by her children the daughter emembers her mother s despair age and beatings apparently epressed by the mother Elusive and suffused with lyrical poetic imagery like Territory of Light evolves around the natural element of light this story is borne by the element of water the different perceptions mother and daughter have of water anging from an at once menacing and deadly as well as a soothing intimate element embracing them composing a world of an at once menacing and deadly as well as a soothing intimate element embracing them composing a world of out of it the auarium castle the power of the water deity Suijin the underwater castle fable While half in jest evoking the mother s fear for ain which she tries to ward off with umbrella s water symbolises tranuil dark boundless depths in which human emotions dissolve away as in a dream Also the second titular story Of dogs and walls 2014 draws on autobiographical elements and is permeated with loss and death and absence focussing on Tsushima s elationship with her three year older brother who had a developmental disability and died when she was thirteen Like The Watery ealm the story is non linear and is mostly composed out of memories of which the eliability is uestioned and uiet uneventful dreams of the daughter who once was a little sister like Tsushima was It is blending of dreams symbols memories and ealities and shifting from one dimension into another this story eminded me of Haruki Murakami The variety of the walls featuri. 'Though their house was new the wall had been there a long time'In these two stories which have never before been translated into English Tsushima shows how memories dreams and fleeting images describe the borders of our livesPenguin Modern fifty new. Ng in the story and the distinctions with regard to their porousness seem metaphorical observations on the way Japanese society deals with issues like isolation exclusion to their porousness seem metaphorical observations on the way Japanese society deals with issues like isolation exclusion parents households being different from normal people the inability to safeguard or to change one s life Emotions tenderness love grief shame and survivor s guilt are gracefully weaved into the story Reading Tsushima s novel Territory of Light shortly after these stories my eview here I was struck by some parallels and ecurrent themes featuring in both the short stories impressionistic slices of life and the also episodic novel Rooted in the domestic sphere the stories focus on single motherhood loss and memory death the long lasting weight of family history the struggle for women s autonomy abandonment the absence of father Or Husband Figures On Rainy Sundays My Mother Remembers husband figures ainy Sundays my mother emembers her who left her dreams in the care of some man who already had a wife and a family and is now bringing up the child of that involvement on her own loneliness grief difficult mother daughter elationships Intimate melancholic tender and meditative written in a subtle prose bathing in a balmy light I enjoyed these stories than Territory of Light likely because despite the hostility and tension in the elationship between the mother and the daughter there was tenderness and imagination illuminating the women s lives than there was to be found in the novel Paintings by Ito Jakuchu 35 starsThis two story minibook categorized as No 43 in the Penguin Modern series was mistakenly bought some months ago in March Taken from its second story the first being The Watery Realm 1982 the front cover fonts of the title and the writer incorrigibly deceived me due to its highly effective design on both to the extent that I at first sight couldn t help assuming that they were written by Yukio Mishima Thus I found little motive in eading them so I ead her first story and left it at that till I could vaguely ecall what I had ead and understood wondering if I enjoyed eading it Yesterday I could finish eading her Of Dogs and Walls 2014 and decided to write something about it firstThe second story has portrayed the contemporary scenes by means of narration on Toru chan and his little sister aged ten living in post war Tokyo as well as some flashbacks by the grown up surprisingly unnamed sister In the meantime I m sorry I don t have this smallish book nearby it s so small that I can t find it I have no choice but keep writing something on my mind First it s about the title itself Of Dogs and Walls tacitly signifies suburban life hopelessly surrounded by stray and trained dogs and inevitable concrete walls Stray dogs tend to bark furiously at night or in daytime for some eason of their own while trained ones arely do since they ve been trained and thus wiser by keeping calm and bark when necessary Additionally such walls have long been es. Books celebrating the pioneering spirit of the iconic Penguin Modern Classics series with each one offering a concentrated hit of its contemporary international flavour Here are authors anging from Kathy Acker to James Baldwin Truman Capote to Stan. Sential to protect all sorts of houses buildings property etc and keep unwelcome thieves at bay Second the boy and his sister notice the houses with some barbed wire attached so that it s harder or impossible to intrude for illegal purposes The barbed wire suggests elatively effective household protection as we can casually notice in developing countries like Thailand in coping with unwelcome guests by one of the ubiuitous traditional measuresTo continue Beautiful developing countries like Thailand in coping with unwelcome guests by one of the ubiuitous traditional measuresTo continue Beautiful but forgettable stories I must admit that I find Japanese fiction a little hit or miss A lot of the stories which I have ead have been a little too obscure for my taste and even sometimes when I have enjoyed a particular plot I find the writing or the translation of it ather too simplistic Regardless I came to the forty third Penguin Modern with an open mind These are described as luminous tender stories from one of Japan s greatest twentieth century writers showing how childhood memories dreams and fleeting encounters shape our lives This collection is made up of two short stories The Watery Realm and Of Dogs and Walls The first was published in 1982 and the second in 2014 and this is the first time in which both tales have been translated into English by Geraldine Harcourt The Watery Realm begins in ather an intriguing manner It was in the middle of the summer he turned five as I ecall that my son discovered the Western style castle in the window of the goldfish shop in our neighbourhood I found this tale engaging throughout and the narrator and her son both felt like ealistic creations I didn t enjoy Of Dogs and Walls anywhere near as much unfortunately Whilst on the whole both stories were interesting and kept me guessing and neither was overly obscure I do not feel inspired to ead the est of Tsushima s work The first story The Watery Realm is an imaginative invocation of the impact of death of the writer on his window and three
children another strong 
Another strong is the difficult mother daughter elationship and how the two parties views differ greatly from each other While the mother ecalls a blissful and peaceful life the daughter shows the eader something completely different than harmony Despair age and beatings which she apparently had to undergo by her mother Water as the symbol eflects both the mother and the daughter deadly but soothing aging but tranuil This story is absolutely magical and was my favourite There is something enchanting and imaginative about Japanese literature in general that affects the eader in a way no other genre will invoke The second story Of Dogs and Walls also concerns itself with permanent loss and death the absence of a loved one It is composed out of memories and blends dreams ealities and symbols with each other The whole story is a metaphor for the how Japanese society deals with isolation and exclusion Two beautiful stories tender and subtle and so imaginativ. Islaw Lem and George Orwell to Shirley Jackson; essays adical and inspiring; poems moving and disturbing; stories surreal and fabulous; taking us from the deep South to modern Japan New York's underground scene to the farthest eaches of outer space. .

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