The memory police by Yoko Ogawa- 1994- translated fom the Japanese by Stephen Snyder - 2019
The Japanese Literature Challenge 14 - Hosted by Dolce Bellezza
January 1 to March 31. Japanese Literature Challenge 14
My prior posts for JL14 2021
- “Peony Lanterns” a Short Story by Aoko Matsuda - translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton -2020 - a delightful story you can read online. Linked to traditional stories of Ghosts
- Before The Coffee Gets Cold by TOSHIKAZU KAWAGUCHI -2020- an international bestseller
My first encounter with Yoko Ogawa was during Jl3 in March of 2010.
As of now I have posted on two additional novels by Ogawa, Hotel Iris and her most famous work The Housekeeper and The Professor as well as eight shorter works. Like Memory Police, The Housekeeper and The Professor are centered on the consequences of memory failure. The Housekeeper and The Professor is a realistic mode work about a man whose short time memory only extends back one day. The Memory Police is a dystopic s/f work about a culture wide mandated memory lose. Things people do not remember disappear.
The Memory Police takes place on an unnamed island where things are disappearing, starting with hats, ribbons birds and roses. Most people have no memory left of the disappered things, those who do are dealt with by the memory police. The Menory Police are a Gestapo like organization. The narrator is a novelist. Her editor is being sought by The memory Police so she decides to hide him. Gradually more and more things begin to disappear including human body parts. Things get stranger as the plot proceeds.
I found Tbe Memory Police very interesting. We never have a clear idea of why this is happening, just a few speculative notions.
About the Author Yoko Ogawa’s fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, A Public Space, Granta, and Zoetrope: All-Story. Since 1988 she has published more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction and has won every major Japanese literary award. She lives in Hyogo.
I Will next read for JL14 a noir novel THE LADY KILLER by Masako Togawa Translated by Simon Grove, first published in 1963.