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Rain Taxi review: Just what is the nature of memory?

By Amanda Vail
Rain Taxi

takahashi_twelveJust what is the nature of memory? It is at once tenuous and concrete, easily grasped yet often fleeting. Mutsuo Takahashi believes there are three different kinds of memories: those that are pure recollection, those that originate from the stories of others, and those that are a combination of the two. Throughout Twelve Views from the Distance, Takahashi explores his childhood and young adulthood by following the threads that connect his memories together. The twelve views are like twelve lenses—or, as Takahashi says, mirrors—each with a unique vantage referenced in the chapter title. One view is of snow, another the sea; still others are sexuality, his grandmother’s home, and his imagined father. Each of these views reveals facets of his lifetime and the lifetimes of his mother, father, grandmother, and grandfather. Facet by facet, the reader is immersed within the rich environs of southern Japan during World War II and the years thereafter.

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