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Literature / Arts

I Haven’t Dreamed of Flying for a While

(Faber & Faber 2008)

Taichi Yamada

In this well conceived metaphysical fantasy, Taichi Yamada dramatizes a wayward liebestod, a backward love story that links with death in both directions.
The narrator has an affair with a plainly older woman who, at each subsequent encounter, becomes younger and younger.
He begins to worry. Will she next be a child? And the time after that—will she even have been born?
Here the author returns to a favorite theme—memorably illustrated in his most popular book, 1987 Ijintachi to no Natsu, translated in 2005 as Strangers.
In both, memory maintains, but it also kills.
Also, these novels could be read as allegories where the here and now is questioned in the face of the old and the then.
The old might have been better but at the same time in enfeebles because it isn’t now—and “now” is all that counts since it is the only reality.
This theme is never this directly stated, nor are the various mysteries ever explained, but the allegorical idea vibrates throughout these pages.
The woman, growing steadily younger, says she feels like a ghost, and in a way she is one, moving backward rather than forward in time.
What, then, he wonders, does this make him feel like?

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