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I am a Japanese Writer

by Dany Laferriere

A witty shaggy dog story that is more thought-provoking than action-packed. Full of comical absurdity and philosophical reflection, this is good entertainment where the audacious title for a fictitious novel snowballs into a minor international farce. With excerpts of haiku poetry and insights into decadent Japanese youth pop culture, this is an irreverent exploration on authorial identity.

Extract

I don’t understand all the attention paid to a writer’s origins. Because, for me, Mishima was my neighbor. Very naturally, I repatriated the writers I read at the time. All of them: Flaubert, Goethe, Whitman, Shakespeare, Lope de Vega, Cervantes, Kipling, Senghor, Césaire, Roumain, Amado, Diderot – they all lived in my village. Otherwise, what were they doing in my room? Years later, when I became a writer and people asked me, 'Are you a Haitian writer, a Caribbean writer or a French-language writer?' I answered without hesitation: I take on my reader’s nationality. Which means that when a Japanese person reads me, I immediately become a Japanese writer.
Translated by David Homel

Parallels

Ghost Writer by Philip Roth
 

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