Review of MONKEY: New Writing From Japan (Volume 1) by Motoyuki Shibata

I have been a hug fan of this publication, having completing the original run of Monkey Business, so I was delighted to find this resurrected imprint. 

Nearly every issue contains writing or interviews available nowhere else featuring Haruki Murakami, Hiromi Kawakami, Mieko Kawakami, and Hideo Furukawa. If that isn’t enough to justify checking them out, consider the random gems you will find in the form of anecdotes, manga chapters and hybrid story-comics, travelogues, etc. by the leading writers alive or dead from Japan. Like with any anthology, there are a few misses alongside the hits. Most often in the experimental stuff. This volume mixes in a couple classic stories from Naoya Shiga with the first thing I’ve ever liked from Hiroko Oyamada.
Most fascinating of all were the translators’ essays about books not yet translated. All I have to say is: Please start filling in the gulf. A lot of translations of post-Murakami Japanese fiction (in the past few years) have done little to break the mold. The exceptions are books by Sayaka Murata.
Can we please get an English translation of the 700-page Hideo Furukawa novel Tokyo Soundtrack? I would read more Rieko Matsuura. I could go on to list fifty more books I would buy instantly if the translation appeared, but I will have to be content to read each new issue of Monkey to get my fix.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s