‘A Snake Stepped On’ by Hiromi Kawakami, translated by Lucy North

I’ve been a fan of Kawakami’s since reading Strange Weather in Tokyo, which is just a beautiful and careful mediation on intimacy. This story, which is fairly lengthy, as short stories go, is a forkloric tale about people becoming snakes and snakes becoming people. It’s eerie, and haunting, and retains all the excoriating insight of Kawakami’s  more realist fiction: 

“Have you ever been betrayed, Hiwako, dear?” she asked, looking up at me seductively. 

To be betrayed, you probably first have to be deeply involved. Had I been deeply involved with anything in my life?

First published in Japanese in 1996. First published in English in Record of a Night Too Brief, Pushkin Press, 2017

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