The Easy Life in Kamusari
by Shion Miura
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Pub Date 02 Nov 2021 | Archive Date 16 Nov 2021
AmazonCrossing, Amazon Crossing
From Shion Miura, the award-winning author of The Great Passage, comes a rapturous novel where the contemporary and the traditional meet amid the splendor of Japan’s mountain way of life.
Yuki Hirano is just out of high school when his parents enroll him, against his will, in a forestry training program in the remote mountain village of Kamusari. No phone, no internet, no shopping. Just a small, inviting community where the most common expression is “take it easy.”
At first, Yuki is exhausted, fumbles with the tools, asks silly questions, and feels like an outcast. Kamusari is the last place a city boy from Yokohama wants to spend a year of his life. But as resistant as he might be, the scent of the cedars and the staggering beauty of the region have a pull.
Yuki learns to fell trees and plant saplings. He begins to embrace local festivals, he’s mesmerized by legends of the mountain, and he might be falling in love. In learning to respect the forest on Mt. Kamusari for its majestic qualities and its inexplicable secrets, Yuki starts to appreciate Kamusari’s harmony with nature and its ancient traditions.
In this warm and lively coming-of-age story, Miura transports us from the trappings of city life to the trials, mysteries, and delights of a mythical mountain forest.
A Note From the Publisher
Juliet Winters Carpenter is a professor emerita of Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts and a veteran translator. Her first translated novel, Secret Rendezvous by Kobo Abe, received the 1980 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature. In 2014, her translation of A True Novel by Minae Mizumura received the same award, as well as the American Translators Association’s Lewis Galantière Award. Besides Shion Miura’s bestselling novel The Great Passage, her recent translations include An I-Novel by Minae Mizumura, At the End of the Matinee by Keiichiro Hirano, and Pax Tokugawana: The Cultural Flowering of Japan, 1603–1853 by Tōru Haga. She and her husband live on Whidbey Island in Washington State.
Praise for The Great Passage
Winner of an Earphones Award, Fiction
“Mastery of words may not result in masterly communication, and a great dictionary, like a love story, is ‘the result of people puzzling over their choices’—a classic tension that has made The Great Passage a prizewinner in Japan, as well as both a successful feature film and an animated television series.” —The New York Times
“Swirling with witty enchantment, The Great Passage proves to be, well, utterly great. Readers should be advised to get ready to sigh with delighted satisfaction and awe-inspiring admiration.” —Booklist (starred review)
“The Great Passage has a philosophy of thoughtfulness and dedication to words that any reader will understand…Miura’s prose—and Carpenter’s translation—glides along, smooth and precise, with flashes of quiet poetry.” —Metropolis
“The Great Passage is interwoven with romantic love stories, but ultimately it is the passion of the characters, their friendship, and their devotion to their task that direct and complete the narrative and turn it from simply a good book to a great one.” —Talia Franks, Three Percent