Facing the Bridge (New Directions Paperbook)
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
From Japan to Vietnam to Amsterdam to the Canary Islands, these three new tales by master storyteller Yoko Tawada float between cultures, identities, and the dreamwork of the imagination
When he watched Michael Jackson's videos, every cell in Tamao's body started to seethe: he even felt his appearance begin to change. His friends all said plastic surgery was in bad taste. But didn't everyone harbor a secret desire for a new face? His own was as plain as a burlap sack, so he put it out of his mind and studied hard to compensate for how dull he looked. He told himself that fretting over one's appearance was a job for women. But deep down, doesn't every man who lacks confidence in his looks yearn for that moment when the Beast turns into a handsome young man? -- from Facing the Bridge reading Yoko Tawada becomes an obsession, like watching the films of Catherine Deneuve. In Facing the Bridge, Tawada's second story collection with New Directions, obsession becomes delight as the reader is absorbed into three tales where identities flicker and shift within borders as wide as the mind.
soak up the sun’s rays. Their faces and the slightly husky tone of their voices filled Kazuko with nostalgia. Tourists often wax nostalgic over things they are seeing for the first time. “Good taste. One dollar,” they chimed in unison, shooting their index fingers straight up at the sky with the word “one.” “Buy mine, Big Sis.” Kazuko was embarrassed to be called Big Sis. Surely it wasn’t appropriate for this situation, she thought, but then again, what was wrong with it? And what exactly did
would I borrow the money from and what to do about the key to the basement I had lost? That lost key haunted me while I was translating. And furthermore the hand that held the fountain pen itched so bad I was forced to stop writing after every line to put the pen down and scratch my palm. … especially, have met, people, the sacrifices, in churches, in chapels, in monasteries, in art museums, they, as before said, alone, however, not entirely, accompanied, by their torturers … I had an
then feeling I had done something wrong I wanted to get out of his way and walk back but his truck blocked the path. “I’ll give you a ride when I’m done,” the man said looking up. Sweat already dripped from his forehead. When he dropped the leaves one by one into a huge canvas bag the leaves seemed to disappear completely. He told me the leaves would be dried and fed to goats during the winter. The thought of standing there until the bag was full made me terribly anxious so I said, “I’m sorry
Dutch fort—imprisoned, some say, to prevent him from inciting protest among his people—sometime around 1759. Amo’s writings, especially On the Rights of the Moors in Europe, are thought to have influenced Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, the poet and philosopher of the German Enlightenment who moved to Wolfenbüttel in 1770 to work as a librarian. This seems ironic in light of the fact that, like all Europeans, Lessing is a descendent of the “Bad Spirits” that surround Amo during his life in Europe.
you hanging around all the time—exactly what do you do for a living, anyway?” Cringing with fear, Manfred peered timidly up at Tamao, his mouth half open. No words came out, but his lips spluttered loudly. Alarmed, Tamao quickly added, “Not that it matters to me, of course.” As soon as the hors d’oeuvres were arranged on the table—first a plate of eggplant, zucchini, red peppers and mushrooms, each gleaming with a faint sheen of oil, then slices of tomato and mozzarella, followed by foie