‘The Watery Realm’ by Yūko Tsushima, translated by Geraldine Harcourt

Tsushima, an acclaimed Japanese writer was the daughter of famous author Osamu Dazai and ‘The Watery Realm’ deals with the subject of her father’s suicide. The story moves between the protagonist, her son’s wish for an aquarium toy, which reminds her of the ‘Dragon Castle’ of Japanese myth, and her elderly mother’s viewpoint. The mother recalls her husband’s death, refracted through her fear of Suijin, Shinto spirit of the watery realm, who finally claimed him. Delicate and heartbreaking like all Tsushima’s work, only a fraction of which has been translated into English.

Published in Of Dogs and Walls, a £2 Penguin Modern, 2018

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