Hitomi Kanehara

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Hitomi Kanehara

Hitomi Kanehara 金原ひとみ

Hitomi Kanehara (1983–)  made a dramatic debut as an author with the 2003 Hebi ni piasu (Snakes and Earrings), which won the Subaru Prize for Literature that year and the Akutagawa Prize announced the following January. Then 20 years old, she rewrote literary history along with Risa Wataya, then 19, who won the prize in the same round. The journal Bungei shunju, which carried the winning works, is a conservative publication known for its older, mainly male readership, but it sold out across the country with these youthful works in its pages. Kanehara’s title also saw record sales in book form. Her father is a celebrated translator, but she was a rebellious child, refusing to attend middle and high school. She has spoken of her self-abusive behavior, driven by the harshness of life as she perceived it. Her writing is marked by the pain of love, or of its absence, and the angst driven by the uncertainty of existence. Many of her characters are young women who provide a detailed picture of the author herself. Her subsequent honors include the 2010 Oda Sakunosuke Prize for Torippu torippu (Trip Trip) and the 2012 Bunkamura Deux Magots Literary Prize for Mazāzu (Mothers). Other notable novels are Asshu beibī (Ash Baby), Amebic, Motazaru mono (The Have-Nots), and Kuraudo gāru (Cloud Girl). She moved to France after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011 out of concerns about the radiation danger for her children.

Books by Hitomi Kanehara
  • Book

    Snakes and Earrings

    This book depicts a little more than six months in the relationships among Lui, the narrator; Ama, the man she lives with; and Shiba, a sculptor who has been friends with Ama for many years. The punkish Ama, whose head is shaved into a bright-red Mohawk, …

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  • Book

    The Have-Nots

    The main action of this novel by Hitomi Kanehara follows events in the lives of four men and women in their thirties as they grapple, each in his or her own way, with senses of loss or emptiness two years after the massive earthquake, tsunami, and Fukushi …

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  • Book

    Cloud Girl

    Two young sisters with sharply contrasting personalities take turns telling of their anchorless life in Tokyo following the death of their mother, who had received custody of them when she and their father divorced. Sixteen-year-old An is in the tenth gr …

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