Facing the Bridge

ISBN: 081121690X
ISBN 13: 9780811216906
By: Yōko Tawada Margaret Mitsutani

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About this book

When he watched Michael Jackson's videos, every cell in Tamao's body started to seethe: he even felt his appearance begin to change. His friends all said plastic surgery was in bad taste. But didn't everyone harbor a secret desire for a new face? His own was as plain as a burlap sack, so he put it out of his mind and studied hard to compensate for how dull he looked. He told himself that fretting over one's appearance was a job for women. But deep down, doesn't every man who lacks confidence in his looks yearn for that moment when the Beast turns into a handsome young man? -- from Facing the Bridge reading Yoko Tawada becomes an obsession, like watching the films of Catherine Deneuve. In Facing the Bridge, Tawada's second story collection with New Directions, obsession becomes delight as the reader is absorbed into three tales where identities flicker and shift within borders as wide as the mind.

Reader's Thoughts


The author is interested in transitions and borders themselves, and did not want the title to reflect crossing a bridge, but instead facing the bridge and staring it down and refusing to cross. In Tawada's other books the characters often choose another possiblity instead of the obvious destination right in front of them. They are focusing on the actual process of difficult transitions and not transitions that are completed quickly and forgotten. I think that Tawada's writing is unique and interesting, and despite the confusion of shifting characters, I kept reading to continue the well-written journey.... read more of my review here:http://japanesefiction.hubpages.com/h...

Andrew Vice

postmodernism pls go


A peculiar book - very good, not Great, yet I got the rare feeling I often get with Gene Wolfe's fiction that there's a vital enigma in the work that I can barely make out the outlines of.


Tawada describes the construction of a "tourist race" - Japanese trying to class themselves apart from other Asians, in order to approach Whiteness. With the other two stories, I'm not sure what she's ultimately trying to say or whether it works.


Absolutely amazing! This book is comprised of three short stories and seems to be the perfect marriage of her two previous books translated into English from The Japanese and The German. The way Tawada intertwines issues of race, history, alienation, sexuality, with fable, myth, humor, and absurdity is sheer brillance. Although I wanted to read this slowly I couldn't help rushing through it because I simply couldn't put it down. The afterword, written by the translator is surprisingly interesting and also worth reading.

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