Additional Book Information
Series: NYRB Classics
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Once and ForeverThe Tales of Kenji Miyazawa
by Kenji Miyazawa, translated from the Japanese by John Bester
October 2018 selection for the NYRB Classics Book Club.
Kenji Miyazawa is one of modern Japan’s most beloved writers, a great poet and a strange and marvelous spinner of tales, whose sly, humorous, enchanting, and enigmatic stories bear a certain resemblance to those of his contemporary Robert Walser. John Bester’s selection and expert translation of Miyazawa’s short fiction reflects its full range from the joyful, innocent “Wildcat and the Acorns,” to the cautionary tale “The Restaurant of Many Orders,” to “The Earthgod and the Fox,” which starts out whimsically before taking a tragic turn. Miyazawa also had a deep connection to Japanese folklore and an intense love of the natural world. In “The Wild Pear,” what seem to be two slight nature sketches succeed in encapsulating some of the cruelty and compensations of life itself.
Kenji Miyazawa fables are international-class.
In the transcendent stories of Miyazawa, Earth teems with magic and wonder....While Miyazawa does not eschew the tropes of folktales—his forests teem with talking animals, magic stones, and moral lessons—this collection proves his poetic voice and craft transcend the genre.
Miyazawa moves you to sorrow, to laugh, chuckle, marvel—he makes you live the things he describes.
A marvelous writer who deserves to be much better known in English.
Miyazawa seems to have been something of a genius.
A humble and gifted writer.
Miyazawa’s tales beg to be read and reread slowly and out loud.
Readers who haven’t outgrown imaginative stories...will enjoy Miyazawa no less than Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Dickens and Dr. Seuss.
—Asahi Evening News
The work of a truly good man and a great writer.