Title: Grass For My Pillow
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: 2002
Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket
Edition: 1st Edition.
New York. 2002. Columbia University Press. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. Translated from the Japanese by Dennis Keene. 345 pages. hardcover. Jacket design by Linda Secondari. Jacket image: Atomic Bomb. 0231126581. keywords: Literature Japan Translated. inventory # 34754. FROM THE PUBLISHER - Set in Japan during and after the Second World War, GRASS FOR MY PILLOW is the story of Shokichi Hamada, a conscientious objector who dodges military service by simply disappearing from society, taking to the country as an itinerant peddler until the end of the war in 1945. Twenty years later, Hamada works as a clerk at a conservative university, his war resistance a dark secret of the past that present-day events force into the light, confronting him with unexpected consequences of his refusal to conform. Maruya’s masterpiece is an unusual story of a deeply taboo subject in twentieth-century Japanese society: resistance to the draft in World War II. First published in Japanese in 1966, this debut novel by the critically acclaimed author of SINGULAR REBELLION creates an unparalleled portrait of a man at odds with his society, and with himself. Praise for GRASS FOR MY PILLOW – ‘An eloquent English-language version of the novel long considered to be Maruya’s masterpiece. Dealing as it does with the issue of draft-dodging in the Pacific War, the book was considered daring when it was first published. The wanderings of the protagonist around Japan in order to escape the watchful eyes of the military create an absorbing narrative quite unlike anything else in modern and contemporary Japanese fiction. Somber and funny at the same time, Maruya’s vision remains touching, sobering, and, in some special way, hopeful in its portrayal of the potential that can be found in any situation for human dignity.’ – J. Thomas Rimer, author of A READER’S GUIDE TO JAPANESE LITERATURE. ‘An extraordinary look at a little known aspect of the Japanese experience of World War II: civilian opposition to the draft and the war. It combines an exciting tale of deception and resistance with a moving depiction of the ways in which the war continues to haunt the Japanese psyche. The novel will not only add to Maruya’s reputation abroad but is a most welcome addition to the small but significant body of Japanese fiction on the war available in English. Dennis Keene is to be commended for his sensitive rendering of this import ant work.’ - Philip Gabriel, translator of Haruki Murakami’s SPUTNIK SWEETHEART. Bookseller Inventory # 34754
Review: Understated yet powerfully effective... Maryua's restrained prose mirrors the constriction of Hamada's thoughts and experience, while his amazing attention to detail renders an unquestionably real world for the narrative to exist within. -- Christine Thomas San Francisco Chronicle Many artists have either idealized pre-surrender Japan as a golden age untainted by Westernization or criticized the blind acceptance of military objectives, but Maruya refuses to gloss over the former or treat the latter as more enlightened. Village Voice Virtuosic... a cornucopia of delights... Keene's translation dexterously reflects Maruya's linguistic exuberance. The New Yorker A masterly realistic novel, and one of the best out of the Far East in many years. Kirkus This thoughtful book gives a wonderful insight into Japanese life, both the greater cultural beliefs that shape the society as a whole and the minutiae that preoccupy each individual. Entertaining, informative and compassionate, this is a very worthwhile read. A tribute must also be paid to the translator. -- Janet Mary Tomson The Historical Novels Review [A] complete artistic success [in] its riddling marrative method... precise, mysterious, and moving. Times Literary Supplement
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