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Monkey Brain Sushi: New Tastes in Japanese Fiction selected and edited by Alfred Birnbaum

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Irreverent, post-Zen, at times bizarre, the stories in this remarkable collection of Japanese fiction chart new literary and cultural territory. In style and substance--as the title or the collection would suggest--this is something quite different from what the West has come to expect or the Japanese palate.

The writers showcased here represent the brightest and the boldest of a new generation. Born after the war, coming or age in the booming eighties, they startle us with their range or emotion, energy, and experience.

Among the offerings:

* Little clones, in a fable by Haruki Murakami (author of the acclaimed A Wild Sheep Chase), march around in a TV twilight zone, voiding a marriage while building an airplane that looks like a juicer.

* Elvis (yes, Elvis), in Eri Makino's story, reaches out from a videotape to touch the life or an ordinary housewife, liberating her from drudgery, husband, and mother-in-law.

* The search for God, in an earnest tale by Kyoji Kobayashi, turns up a minotaur that bellows: Eat mooore! Drink mooore! Have mooore sex!

* Soldiers stranded from the war on a south sea island, in Michio Hisauchi's manga masterpiece, discuss the physics of misery with a spaceman from Spiral Nebula NGC4592.

* The tough dirty talk of S&M, in Amy Yamada's romance, yields to a sublime tenderness.

Selected and edited by Alfred Birnbaum (translator of A Wild Sheep Chase), these stories are wild--daring, kitschy, rude, delightful.

This is, after all, Monkey Brain Sushi!

Product details

Goodreads rating: 3.55

Condition: Used - very good

Format: Mass-market paperback, 304 pages

Dimensions: 133 x 184 x 25mm, 273g

Publication date: 1 Jan 1993

Publisher: Kodansha International 

ISBN-13: 9784770016881