(Book Review / 感想) People From My Neighbourhood / Hiromi Kawakami * このあたりの人たち / 川上弘美

‘People From My Neighbourhood’ is a new collection of translated short stories by Hiromi Kawakami , published by Granta Books in the UK!

This is a collection of mini stories about the people in an unnamed place.
All the stories are about 3 pages long and are interconnected. I really enjoyed how the stories sounded ‘ordinary’ and ‘likely’ while at the same time the events in this book were all unusual and quirky. The book was full of characters with unique personalities, detailed with minimal descriptions, but I felt like I still got to know all of them quite well! Kawakami’s storytelling made me feel like it’s not strange at all to have such unusual events and interesting people somewhere around me…

Also, Kawakami’s writing always reminds me vividly of the daily scenes in Japan, and makes me a little homesick!

The translation by Ted Goossen was very good and I felt that it captured the feel of the original Japanese very accurately. However, probably, if I had translated it myself, I would have gone with the title ‘People Around Here’ because ‘my neighborhood’ sounds too specific. I personally think the joy of Kawakami’s stories is always in-between the ambiguities. That is something I enjoyed more in the Japanese version.

川上弘美 さんの「このあたりの人たち」が翻訳されました!
奇妙なのに、なんだか平凡で私の周りでもこんなこと起きそう、と思わせる不思議ストーリー。
漢字がキーとなる場面もあるので翻訳がどうなるのか気になっていましたが、英語でも楽しく読みすすめることができました。
日本語からの英語訳を読むと、私だったらこう訳すのにーなんて思う箇所はどうしてもいつもあるのですが(好みがでますよね)、そんな中で良い塩梅のワードを探していく言葉選びのプロ、翻訳家ってすごい。
もっとたくさん、日本の物語が英語圏にも広まりますように。

[AD – REVIEW COPY] I was provided a PR copy of this book by The Tandem Collective

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