The first English translation of a highly praised Japanese miniaturist (1900-77) collects dozens of teasingly brief...

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ONE THOUSAND AND ONE-SECOND STORIES

The first English translation of a highly praised Japanese miniaturist (1900-77) collects dozens of teasingly brief ""stories"" (many of which are very fragmentary distillations of simple observations) written during the 1920s and 30s. Inagaki often settles for simplistic ironies, but when his imagination glides into overdrive (as in the stories featuring ""Mr. Moon,"" a recurring figure who's a quirky compound of divinity and trickster), his sketchy fictions assume a comic lunacy. Though the later pieces, which eerily reflect the distracted quality of a world plunging into global war, are somewhat more substantial, Inagaki's best are cosmic satirical fantasies (""A Letter from the Milky Way,"" ""On Cutting a Black Cat's Tail"") that blithely dramatize the inexplicable juxtaposition of mundane and (sometimes interstellar) high-flying realities.

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 1998

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 163

Publisher: Sun & Moon

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1998