Mario Bellatin's playful biography of the most influential and largest-nosed obscure Japanese writer of the last century, Shiki Nagaoka, has proven to be so popular that it is now being reissued by Phoneme Media. With this book, Bellatin succeeded in sparking a huge and richly deserved modern resurgence of interest in Nagaoka's life and work. New fans of the Japanese writer, dubbed "Nagaokites" in the worldwide press, have propelled this book to heights as fabulous and ethereal as the actual writer himself. In it, Bellatin recounts with an almost paternal air Nagaoka's early life, including his failed first attempt at love, his decision to enter the monastic life, and his family’s disavowal of him. He also contextualizes Nagaoka's untranslatable and nearly impossible to find masterwork, Photos and Words, his early use of narrative photography, and describes his ineffable influence on other important world artists, including writers Juan Rulfo, José María Arguedas, Tanizaki Junichiro, and filmmaker Yasujirô Ozu.
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Mario Bellatin has published dozens of novellas on major and minor publishing houses in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. His English-language translations include Beauty Salon (City Lights, 2010) and Chinese Checkers: Three Fictions (Ravenna Press, 2009). His current projects include Los Cien Mil Libros de Bellatin, his own imprint dedicated to publishing 1,000 copies each of 100 of his books.
David Shook is a poet and writer in Los Angeles, where he edits Molossus and Phoneme Media. His debut collection Our Obsidian Tongues is available from Eyewear Publishing.
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