The Mourner
Author: Arata Tendō
Specifications: ISBN  978-4163276403
464 pages
12.8 x 19.0 cm / 5.1 x 7.6 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Bungeishunju Ltd.
Tokyo, 2008
Awards: Naoki Prize, 2008
Translations: French
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Country Languages Publisher Title ISBN Translator Affiliate Link
France French Seuil L'homme qui pleurait les morts 978-2021078824 Corinne Atlan
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This novel traces six months in the life of 32-year-old Shizuto Sakatsuki, who wanders Japan mourning the deaths of accident and crime victims he runs across in newspapers and other sources. Shizuto had been a salesman for a medical supplier until, shocked to realize that the distractions of work made him forget the death anniversary of a young doctor friend, he undergoes an emotional crisis, quits his job, and embarks on a cross-country journey to grieve for the dead. As the story begins, he has already been on this quest for five years. Spending his nights camping out in the open and his days visiting the places where the deaths occurred, Shizuto not only prays for the victims but asks those who knew them three questions: Who did these people love? Who loved them? What did they do that earned others' gratitude? The answers, he says, give him the keys he needs to commit each and every person to memory as a precious individual. Shizuto eventually attracts the interest of three characters?Junko, a mother and cancer patient told she has only three months to live; Makino, a weekly magazine reporter convinced of Shizuto's phoniness and determined to prove it; and Yukiyo, who starts shadowing Shizuto after she emerges from a four-year prison sentence for killing her husband out of love. The narrative centers on the impact Shizuto's life has on theirs. From divorce, parent-child conflict, and sibling deaths to domestic violence and unwanted pregnancy, Shizuto encounters and lays to rest the many hurts harbored by these and other characters. Through this scenario the author poses daring questions about the meaning of redemption in today's world.

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