An evocative historical novel with a sting in the tail, Shipwrecks is a powerful and deeply moving Japanese classic, introduced by David Mitchell
Introduced by David Mitchell
In a coastal village in medieval Japan, a young boy called Isaku battles to keep his family alive against the odds. With his father gone, Isaku is forced to grow up well before his time. He must learn how to catch fish, how to distil salt, and about all the mysteries of the vast churning sea, not least the legend of O-fune-sama, of ships wrecked offshore providing the village with unexpected bounty.
When a ship founders on the rocks, Isaku and the villagers rejoice. Long have they prayed for the sea’s gifts. But the cargo is not at all the blessing they had hoped for. At first mystifying, then terrifying, something dark is coming ashore and it’s about to change their lives forever.
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“A haunting and beautifully rendered tale of enduring optimism”
“Has all the turbulent power of the sea”
“Set against [a] tapestry of near-nihilistic misery, Yoshimura’s chiaroscuro touches of hope and love hint at something more profound”
times Literary Supplement
Akira Yoshimura was born in 1927. He was the prize-winning, bestselling author of twenty novels and collections of short stories and was the president of Japan’s writers’ union and a member of International PEN. He died in 2006.