Surrealist Poetry Turns Lethal

By Emily Goldsher-Diamond
Vol. 1 Brooklyn

kawamata_death coverKawamata Chiaki’s novel, Death Sentences, is the first of his numerous works to be translated into English. I like horror and science fiction, so I was excited to read something lauded by William Gibson, an author quickly becoming something of a demigod among genre devotees. But I was also hesitant, knowing that works translated from the original Japanese (a la Haruki Murakami) can’t rely on their original melodies and thus take shape outside the author’s initial conception of the work. It is very much like listening to a piece of music composed for the piano performed with maracas and triangle—no matter how deftly—and knowing that you never fully hear the composition, though you get an idea of the shadow it casts.

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