Elegantly evoking Japan with cream paper and ink-painted foliage on the cover and inside pages, this slim paperback from the small Braidwood publisher Finlay Lloyd is headed by the single, bold character for ‘wild goose’ (karikarigane). The events recounted in Mori Õgai’s novella occur in Tokyo in the late nineteenth century, in the area north of Kanda around Ueno’s Shinobazu pond, near the residence of the Iwasaki family and the campus of Tokyo Imperial University. A map shows the regular walks taken by Okada, a medical student, along meticulously named streets and lanes, past temples and shrines, restaurants and bookshops, some of which are still there. According to the seasons, the residents in this small area silently change their screens, blinds, and shutters, able to look out while remaining barely visible.
The Wild Goose
The Wild Goose
by Mori Õgai, translated by Meredith McKinney
Finlay Lloyd, $20 pb, 158 pp, 9780987592927
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Alison Broinowski has been a reviewer for ABR since 1962, concentrating mainly on Asian fiction and international affairs. She is an Australian former diplomat and has taught and researched at ANU, Macquarie, and Wollongong Universities. The eleven books she has written and edited are about the interface between Australia and Asian countries.
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