Take a story and shrink it. Make it tiny, so small it can fit in the palm of your hand. Carry the story with you everywhere, let it sit with you while you eat, let it watch you while you sleep. Keep it safe, you never know when you might need it.
In Kawakami's super short 'palm of the hand' stories the world is never quite as it should be: a small child lives under a sheet near his neighbour's house for thirty years; an apartment block leaves its visitors with strange afflictions, from fast-growing beards to an ability to channel the voices of the dead; an old man has two shadows, one docile, the other rebellious; two girls named Yoko are locked in a bitter rivalry to the death.
Small but great, you'll find great delight spending time with the people in this neighbourhood.
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HIROMI KAWAKAMI is one of Japan's most popular contemporary novelists, famous for her offbeat literary fiction. She was awarded the Akutagawa Prize in 1996 and her novel Strange Weather in Tokyo was shortlisted for both the Man Asian Prize and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and has been translated into thirteen languages. She is also the author of The Nakano Thrift Shop and The Ten Loves of Mr Nishino.
Ted Goossen is Professor of Japanese Literature at York University in Toronto and has translated Haruki Murakami among others.
'Beguiling, with a strangeness that feels culturally rooted' - Sunday Times
'Deft and funny prose, in a feather-light translation by Ted Goossen, is the signature of Hiromi Kawakami's latest collection... an intriguing and compelling bitesize read... funny, full of heart' - Arts Desk
'Tempting as it is, People from My Neighbourhood is not a book to rush... The interlinking short stories in this collection are fairy tales in the best Brothers Grimm tradition: naif, magical and frequently veering into the macabre... in a world where much is insubstantial... Kawakami's clean narrative style is very much her own' - Financial Times
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