Tsutomu Mizukami, who died in 2004, was a prolific writer who produced all manner of booksnovels, detective stories, biographies, and plays. The Temple of Wild Geese
is partly autobiographical; like
Mizukami was, the protagonist is raised in a Buddhist temple, which results in dire consequences years later. In Bamboo Dolls of Echizen
, artisan Kisuke marries prostitute Tamae, and both flourish. There you have it.
The Los Angeles Times notes
Fiction in translation can sometimes be a painful slog. Not in this case. Even the best translations put a pane of glass between author and reader, but while some lines here buzz with what seems the white noise of an interloper, most of Dennis Washburn’s translation is imperceptible.
In The Temple of the Wild Geese and Bamboo Dolls of Echizen, Mizukami delivers the bright notes of a clear spirit, shot through with the darker wit of a person who has failed to escape his past.