Touring the Land of the Dead (and Ninety-Nine Kisses)
From one of Japan’s rising literary stars, two mesmerizing novellas told with stylistic inventiveness and breathtaking sensitivity about memory, loss, and love.
Touring the Land of the Dead tells the story of Taichi, who was forced to stop working almost a decade ago and since then he and his wife Natsuko have been getting by on her part-time wages. But Natsuko is a woman accustomed to hardship. When her own family’s fortune dried up for years during her childhood, she, her brother, and her mother lived a surreal hand-to-mouth existence shaped by her mother’s refusal to accept their new station in life.
One day, Natsuko sees an ad for a spa and recognizes the place as the former luxury hotel that Natsuko’s grandfather had taken her mother to when she was little. She decides to take her damaged husband to the spa, despite the cost, but their time there triggers hard but ultimately redemptive memories relating to the complicated history of her family and a reconciliation with her husband.
Modeled on The Makioka Sisters, Junichiro Tanizaki’s classic story, Ninety-Nine Kisses portrays in touching and lyrical fashion the lives of the four unmarried sisters in a historical, close-knit neighborhood of contemporary Tokyo. An atmospheric and captivating tail of siblings and women’s lives.
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