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The Paper Door and Other Stories (Modern Asian Literature Series) Paperback – 13 Feb 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; New Ed edition (13 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231121571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231121576
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 11.4 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,317,091 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


[Shiga wrote] a number of short stories that are nearly perfect in their simplicity, directness, and mastery of subject matter. -- Hiraoki Sato The New York Times

About the Author

Shiga Naoya was born in 1883. Throughout his long life (he died in 1971) and after, he has remained for Japanese people one of the most revered of all modern writers. His most widely known novel is A Dark Night's Passing.Lane Dunlop is winner of the Japan-U. S. Friendship Award for Literary Translation and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award in Literature. He is cotranslator of Kawabata Yasunari's Palm-of-the-Hand Stories and the translator of several books, including Nagai Kaf 's During the Rains & Flowers in the Shade: Two Novellas.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Greshon on 14 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
Like the stories of Hemmingway, these stories (1904-45) are beautifully simple and spare, but with plenty going on between the lines. If anything - and, being Japanese, this is a surprise - the ideas expressed beneath the surface of these stories are more crystallised, easier to pin down.

Shiga, in many of these stories, uses observations of animals and birds - frogs, lizards, wasps, rats, cats, chickens, ducks, bird of prey - to express ideas about life, death and what it means to be human. Often the inevitability of death and the natural order of things is ruminated upon, not in a morbid way, but actually in a freedom-giving way: Shiga strives for an understanding of the nature of things, and with such understanding, comes peace.

Five of the stories, three of them from the 1920s, deal with infidelity, on both the woman's and the man's part. It seems that these are quite autobiographical, as Shiga had an affair at this time with a 20 year-old waitress. The infidelity stories are unusual in that they focus on the effect the affair has on domestic life, rather than the object of the affair and any passion associated with it. One of the stories is memorable in its description of the husband's excitement when he thinks of his pretty young wife lying with another man. The last of thre stories, 'Kumiko' is painfully told, with immense humanity, understanding and eloquence.

The last story, 'A Grey Moon' (1945), coming 18 years after the previous one is a bleak conclusion to this collection. It portrays a post-war Tokyo, burnt out and full of starving people scouring the city streets for food and dropping dead of malnutrition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great Stories, Stodgy Translating 29 April 2013
By S. Idell - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The stories in The Paper Door are often extremely compelling- it is clear even from this translation that Shiga Naoya is a special variety of genius, and one worthy of respect. The last story is particularly compelling. That said, the translation in this edition is more than little stiff. I feel as though the translator may need to learn to loosen up a bit- Shiga's prose is thorny, but it shouldn't read as brittle. A good translation is more flexible with form and less with meaning.
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