Most recently at Elliott Bay as the author of his well-received debut novel, The Sun Gods, Jay Rubin makes this welcome return in his more familiar guise as one of the most acclaimed translators of Japanese literature into English. Formerly at the University of Washington and then Harvard, he has also been a major academic influence in Japanese letters in this country. He has appeared at Elliott Bay previously for his translated volume of Ryūnosuke Akutagawa’s Rashōmon and Seventeen Other Stories, and his portion of Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 (his most recent translated Murakami work is the book of conversation on music with Seiji Ozawa, Absolutely on Music).
This evening it is the beautiful, incredibly wide-ranging anthology, The Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories (Penguin), all done by his translating hand, that is the occasion. This book includes some work or writers that will be familiar to readers here, but has many who will not be. Haruki Murakami provides the Introduction.
This is a marvel. “Reading through this collection has been so fresh and interesting. . . . Now and then I’d be quite astounded at the different and strangely compelling ways the fiction of my own country could be grasped. . . . Unpredictably rewarding.” —Haruki Murakami.
“A feast of literature . . . [It’s] a literature lover’s dream, page after page of memorable writing, stories that leave a lasting impression yet can be fully absorbed in one sitting. It’s one anthology that will surely find a life outside the classroom, offering up the living, vital world of Japanese literature in all its diversity and with a true taste for excellence.” —The Japan Times.