Translation Works
The 4th Selected Works
TITLE
In Pursuit of Lavender
(Tobo kusotawake)
AUTHOR
Translator
ENGLISH / Charles De Wolf published
FRENCH / Sophie Refle
Originally Published by:
Chuokoron Shinsha (2005)
KEY POINTS
  • A road novel describing the travels across Kyushu of a young man and woman who have escaped from a mental institution
SYNOPSIS
 
The travels of a desperate young couple who have escaped from a mental institution
 
I had been admitted to a mental institution after a failed suicide attempt in a bid to escape my auditory hallucinations. But I hated the idea of having to spend the one and only 21st summer of my life in a hospital. So that day, spotting Nagoyan, another patient, in the hospital yard, I said to him, "Let's run away from here together." And we both escaped.
Nagoyan was a timid 24-year-old company worker. He had graduated from a top university, landed a job at a good company, and been transferred to Fukuoka, where he had fallen prey to depression. Nagoyan's impulse was to return to the hospital, but I convinced him otherwise and made him get out his car. We then set out on a journey spanning 1000 km across Kyushu from Fukuoka to Kagoshima.
Vineyards by the roadside, a Buddha carved on the side of a sheer cliff, the Daikanbo Peak, from where one can get the best view of the town of Aso, and the ocean...the two of us drove around the Kyushu countryside in the summer in that rundown old car for a few days, but my auditory hallucinations would not go away. I could run for all I was worth, but I could never run away from them. It was obviously impractical to keep running forever – I did not know what sort of compromise to make with my life.
 
A harsh yet refreshing road novel of a young man and woman escaping from a mental hospital and journeying a thousand kilometers.
This full-length novel published in 2005 is a new work by an author who has previously received the Kawabata Yasunari Prize for Literature, which is given for excellent short stories, and the Akutagawa Prize, which is given to promising writers.
 
GENRE: Literary fiction
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2018 International Translation Forum on Contemporary Japanese LiteratureJLPP Translation Workshop 2018