Robert Fay at The Quarterly Conversation:
The Japanese novelist Hideo Furukawa is interested in the “blank spaces,” as he puts it, what’s not said in official histories and school textbooks. He reminds his countrymen that violence has always been central to Japanese history. In his newly translated novel, Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale that Begins with Fukushima (translated by Doug Slaymaker with Akiko Takenaka), the narrator Hideo Furukawa tells us:
I’m about to touch on Japanese History. This is unbearably uncomfortable, to me anyway, all this history stuff. Our history, the history of the Japanese, is nothing more than the history of killing people.
Furukawa (born in 1966) is well-regarded in Japan as a literary novelist: in addition to receiving the Mishima Yukio Prize in 2006 for his novel Love, he has also won Japanese science fiction and mystery awards. His only other work in English is the novel Belka, Why Don’t You Bark? published by Haikasoru in 2012 (translated by Michael Emmerich). Belka is a rather curious work, at times told from the point of view of various dogs and often employing prose that reads like a poor imitation of hard-boiled fiction. It is not the best introduction to Furukawa and his considerable talents.
Furukawa is a native of Fukushima prefecture, the so-called ground zero of 3.11, and he found himself in Kyoto and Tokyo during 3.11 and its immediate aftermath. Feeling the call to go home, he convinced Shincho Publishing to underwrite a trip to Fukushima and the surrounding prefectures.