Translated by Meredith McKinney
A meditative exploration of aging and approaching death by one of Japan’s finest novelists
Furui Yoshikichi’s work has long dealt with the human dramas of growing up and growing old, but by probing further into the recesses of the mind and memory, he also touches upon the deepest mysteries of human existence. And as if to balance the somber themes of madness and death, Furui shows a great sensitivity to the dark humor inherent in everyday life. White-Haired Melody is no exception; it is the record of the daily experiences of a man approaching old age. It delves into the essential but hidden nature of his daily life, employing prose that is relentless in its re-creation of detail.
This novel is a meditative exploration of the strange borderland around the inner experience of aging and approaching death. Yet, rather than follow a conventional plot, the novel develops by means of an intricate weaving together through time of key experiences of the narrator and his friends to build a compelling portrait of human experience. Those familiar with Furui’s writings will find here a fascinating new development of earlier themes. White-Haired Melody, a work by one of Japan’s finest contemporary novelists writing at the height of his power, is not to be missed.
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