A compelling collection of five dreamlike, mysterious long stories all published in the years 1987—90, by a highly praised Japanese writer whose Kafkaesque fictions have won his country’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize. Ikezawa’s baffled, questing characters—a factory worker whose collusion with a criminal associate makes him a psychic “fugitive” (“Still Life”); a weather observer who infers from nature’s unpredictability that “the whole human race is powerless”; and a survivor of an ill-fated expedition unhinged by the changes survival has wrought in him (“Revenant”), among others, share a stunned awareness of the paradox silently mocking those who would transcend: that “there’s a way of life in which all existence becomes one. . . But the only way we can live is by being enclosed within ourselves.” Haunting fiction, not nearly as abstract as summary makes it sound, from a major new talent.