19 Friday Dec 2014
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The latest addition to my website is Augusto Higa Oshiro‘s La iluminación de Katzuo Nakamatsu [The Illumination of Katzuo Nakamatsu]. The hero of the novel, Katzuo Nakamatsu, is a fifty-eight year old Peruvian widower, of Japanese origin. He has feelings of imminent death and a terrible feeling of not belonging. He has always felt different, because of his Japanese origins. However, since his wife died, twenty five years previously, he has had little contact with people in the Peruvian-Japanese community. During the course of this book, he is told that he has to retire from his post as a university lecturer and he is devastated. His tenuous hold on reality slips even further as he looks to two models – his father’s old friend, Etsuko Unten, a fierce Japanese nationalist who also immigrated into Peru but who very much retained his Japanese ways and even committed suicide, Japanese style, and the Peruvian poet, Martín Adán, who was an alcoholic and ended up in an asylum. Gradually, he slips into a state of illumination, Kenshō, as Higa describes it, before being admitted to an asylum. Higa tells his story very well, as we follow Katzuo’s gradual descent into insanity/illumination. Sadly, neither this nor any of his others books have been translated into English and this book is quite hard to find in Spanish.