Halloween horror recommendation: In Light of Shadows with Izumi Kyoka

Cover scan via Google Books. But like I explain below, just find a paperback.

[Something different for Halloween, but quick and insubstantial again because between the holiday, a funeral, and a job-search, I’ve been out and about more than usual. Bleh]

Let’s get the recommendation out of the way quick: In Light of Shadows (2005) is excellent.

To build on his first volume of Japanese Gothic Tales (1996), translator and professor of Japanese literature Charles Shiro Inouye adds three more short stories by Izumi Kyoka to the Japanese “gothic” writer’s neglected English-language corpus-in-translation.

In Japanese Gothic Tales (which I recommended last year), Inouye had an academic argument to advance regarding Kyoka’s overlooked significance in English-language scholarship of modern Japanese literature. As such, Gothic Tales offered a representative sample of Kyoka’s massive literary output: one famous story (“The Holy Man of Mount Koya”), one excellent one (“One Day in Spring”), and two shorter, weaker stories that Inouye’s superb critical essays nonetheless used to create a convincing, holistic image of Kyoka’s progress from his earliest works (“The Surgery Room”) to his later career (“Osen and Sokichi”). However, having already established Kyoka’s importance in his first volume of translations, with his second, I suspect that Inouye then had more freedom to prove Kyoka’s brilliance for this follow-up volume.

And yes, the selections from In Light of Shadows are brilliant, perhaps only beaten still by “One Day in Spring” from Japanese Gothic Tales (though I am biased; as a shinjuu genre fan, I loved that story to death).

In Light of Shadows includes three short stories:

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