On Zadie Smith’s ‘On Beauty’


Okay, this is a book review/commentary/lazy threadbare attempt at analysis. Now I know book reviews aren’t something that I’ve done on this blog, but in my defence it does fit in with the depreciated literary component of this blog, present only sparingly in the short stories I posted far too many years ago and in my translation of Dazai Osamu’s An Urgent Appeal half a year ago. I had briefly considered translating another story by Dazai, Jorui (‘Womankind’), in which he talks about inciting a female lover into suicide, but my schedule was full and my interest didn’t last. Zadie Smith is an author whose writing has consistently lit up my mind, albeit only in my shallow experience of her, and now that I’ve been enough inspired by her book to write something on it, I’m trying to get it down before this fire fades too.

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Shiga Naoya – Waga Koi wa Chihiro no Umi no Suteobune

A poem from Shiga Naoya’s short story ‘Manazuru’. I love this story and I love the power in this poem.

我が恋は千尋(ちひろ)の海の捨小舟(すておぶね) 寄る辺なしとて波の間に間に

My love is a skiff abandoned on the fathomless sea
With no shore or support
But the mercy of the waves

Waga koi wa chihiro no umi no suteobune
Yorube nashi tote nami no manimani