‘At the Edge of the Wood’ by Masatsugu Ono, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter

Ono’s two-part story, focusing on a man living with his young son in a small house at the edge of a strange wood, seems to be set in that uncanny place between dream and reality. In the first part, ‘A Breast’, the son brings an old woman wearing nothing but an old dressing gown back to the house from the wood, with the father puzzled as to where she could have come from. ‘The Pastry Shop at the Edge of the Wood’ then has the man taking his son to buy a birthday cake for the boy’s unborn sister – after a reminder from a pair of dwarves who pop by for a visit… Bizarre and compelling, ‘At the Edge of the Wood’ is enhanced, like all of the Keshiki chapbooks, by its excellent cover design, with this one opting for a sombre monochrome theme.

Published in Keshiki: New Voices from Japan, Strangers Press, 2017