Shipwrecks [1982/96] – ★★★★★
Yoshimura’s observational novel is fascinating and subtly powerful, uncovering a different way of looking at life.
Shipwrecks is a short novel translated from the Japanese by Mark Ealey. It tells the story of one village in rural medieval Japan, following one boy Isaku, as his family struggles to get food essential for their survival. The village has numerous rituals, but one is particularly eerie: the village does everything it can to summon O–Fune-Sama (the Sea God) or shipwrecks to their coast. This phenomenon is often essential for the survival of the village (since ships carry the necessary food and other commodities), and Isaku and his family are always eagerly awaiting the season when O-Fune-Sama or shipwrecks occur. One day, such a ship does come to the shore where Isaku lives, but will it be a blessing or curse for the village? Those who like books with discernible plot points and fast-paced action should look elsewhere. Shipwrecks by Yoshimura is rather slow and contemplative as it follows day-to-day activities of one village that has one strange, but understandable desire. Continue reading “Review: Shipwrecks by Akira Yoshimura”