Introduction to Nursing Care

« Back to list
Introduction to Nursing Care
Author: Norio Mob
Specifications: ISBN  978-4163234601
105 pages
13.2 x 19.0 cm / 5.3 x 7.6 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Bungeishunju Ltd.
Tokyo, 2004
Awards: Akutagawa Prize, 2004
Buy now:


This richly detailed work is written as the diary of a bleach-haired 29-year-old who dulls his mind with constant drug use. The unlikely topic is his at-home care of his 84-year-old paraplegic grandmother. She has made a miraculous recovery from the brink of death after falling and fracturing her skull on a paving stone in front of the house; but while the accident cured her of the dementia that had previously afflicted her, it left her bedridden.

The narrator's father passed away a decade ago, and his mother is busy managing the generations-old family business, leaving him to care for his grandmother every day. A dedicated caregiver is present for a standard 12-hour shift starting at 8:00 each morning, but during the nighttime hours the narrator stays in his grandmother's room to watch over her. He must wake up twice each night to wrap her legs in warm towels and change her diaper. At times he also takes meals with her, drawing out the smile that once brightened her face when she was named "Miss Nara." There is no telling how long the need for her nursing will go on, and the narrator's anger builds up, directing itself at the half-hearted professional care providers and his aunts and uncles, who show no interest in the grandmother's well-being.

Presented in unbroken flows of text with few paragraph breaks, the story is interspersed with hallucinatory scenes, perhaps fueled by the narrator's drug use, and the reader is addressed rap-music style, with calls of "Yo!" Rich in detail that could only be known by one who has undergone the hardship of caring for a bedridden person, it tells a tale of familial love that cloaks righteous arguments in the language of modern youth, yet at times will bring tears to the reader's eyes.