Translation Works
To Japanese
The 3rd Selected Works
The Word Book
ENGLISH / Paul McCarthy published
FRENCH / Isabelle Sakai published
Originally Published by:
Chikuma Shobo (1979)
  • Experimental short stories authored by a writer who made a spectacular debut at age 19
Twelve short story gems that portray curious relationships between writers and their writings
The encyclopedia salesman "I" met on the train continually invites me to drink whiskey with him for several hours, all the way to the last station on the line. As I like to hear other people talk, I decide to accept his offer.
He is a former novelist. In the room of his first love one day, he finds a notebook left behind by another man. Reading it, he finds its contents exactly the same as a notebook he himself has been keeping. He suffers from the strange experience of reading what he himself has written in the form of a copy made by another person. If he wrote "I write," then the writer of the other notebook would also write the phrase "I write." After several cycles of this, he feels as though he is engaged in an endless competition with the note writer and finally loses track of who had written what. At this point, he gives up novel writing.
"I," who am listening to his story, also have a person sending me notes. What I would like from that person is that he or she would add at least one new word to what I write. I dream of the new word written in the note, and I concurrently dream of the life of words, which become purely organic things.
I am preoccupied with ideas about how I could stop writing, and his words may be a kind of answer to that. ("The Competitor")
GENRE: Literary fiction