The 225-page novel, translated by Raj Mahtani, was first published in Japanese in 2002. The novel, Shiraishi’s second work after his critically acclaimed debut novel A Ray of Light (2002), is his second title to be published in English translation. The first, Me Against the World, was published in 2016.
Shiraishi has published more than 20 novels and collections of short stories since his debut and his works have been published in translation across Asia including China, Taiwan and Korea. He is extremely well known in Japan, having won several prestigious literary awards, and is a prolific and respected author who contributes to many different publications. He has had his work serialized in leading national newspapers, for example, such as the Mainichi Shimbun, which has a daily circulation of 3 million.
Naoto Matsubara works in a Tokyo publishing house, though the work doesn’t particularly interest him. What does interest him, we soon discover, is the purpose of life. Naoto ponders the powers of love, attachment, and mutual care by examining closely his own friends and lovers, searching out how exactly his connection to them confers meaning on his life. Along the way, Naoto also draws on the thought of many writers and philosophers, including Tolstoy, Fromm, and Mishima.
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