Please Take Good Care of My Corpse

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Please Take Good Care of My Corpse
Author: Hiromi Kawakami
Specifications: ISBN  978-4093864558
251 pages
13.6 x 19.5 cm / 5.4 x 7.8 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shogakukan Inc.
Tokyo, 2017
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In spite of its odd premise, the title work in this collection of 18 short stories instantly captures the reader’s interest and leaves a strong impression at the end.

Following her father’s last wishes, narrator Sakura, 33, has been visiting mystery writer Ririka Kurokōchi, 58, twice a year ever since her father died by his own hand 18 years ago at the age of 40. She always visits alone, and always arrives bearing sweets for two. Her father and Kurokōchi had been classmates in school, but beyond that, the nature of their relationship remains a mystery to Sakura. Indicating in his will that he owed Kurokōchi a debt of gratitude, her father had urged Sakura to look to her for support as well. But Kurokōchi tells Sakura that she had merely met her father after a ten-year gap to loan him a large sum of money, and had then only seen him one more time between when he completed repayment of the loan and his suicide. They did not appear even to have been friends.

Just before killing himself, Sakura’s father had written a letter to Kurokōchi: “Please take good care of my corpse, and of Harumi, and of Sakura. Or actually, never mind about my corpse, but please take care of Harumi and Sakura.” Harumi is Sakura’s mother.

Sakura thinks her father was a weak man. He had attempted suicide more than once before successfully killing himself, each time putting his wife and daughter through great distress. But she emphasizes that she nevertheless loved her father, and she also acknowledges that she has experienced a death wish herself. Still, when Kurokōchi asks if she intends to kill herself, she answers with a firm, “No.” As the story comes to a close, it seems clear that Sakura’s twice-yearly visits will continue.

The other stories in the collection run the gamut from realistic tales about love and youth to science fiction and fantasy, and all show author Hiromi Kawakami at the top of her form, a master of her craft. She has polished her utterly original conceptions and leaps of imagination into sparkling gems that will leave every reader giddy with delight.