A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
When I was a boy a long time ago, and I used to examine a framed picture that hung on the walls of the house, I wondered all the while what worlds lay hidden on the reverse side of the framed landscape. I removed the frame repeatedly to peep at the back side of the painting.
Hagiwara Sakutaro was a respected Japanese poet, one of Japan’s first free verse modernists. His style is surreal and often rather dark. “Cat Town” is his only short story. It’s narrator is meant to resemble, or maybe even be indistinguishable from the author. He’s trying to explain the hallucinatory experience of finding himself lost and disoriented in strange surroundings on a vacation. It’s part travelogue, part folk tale, and has a hint of horror, or at least psychological suspense. But more importantly it’s a compellingly weird read that will take you out of our comfortable reality for a half hour or so, and leave you feeling just a little changed by the journey. When you’re done, don’t hesitate to delve into the poems that make up the rest of this collection. They’re striking and strange, and even more unforgettable than the story.
Review by Matthew