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Lake of Heaven is the story of a traditional mountain village in Japan that is destroyed in the process of constructing a dam. It tells of the lives of the displaced villagers as they struggle to retain their traditional culture_including their stories, dances, music, mythology, and dreams_in the face of displacement, environmental destruction, and rapid modernization. Although fictional, the work is rooted in the events of actual villages in the mountains of Kyushu and Ishimure's imaginative reconstructions of their people's tales. Lake of Heaven considerably stretches the familiar Western conceptions of the novel form. Its interweaving of local stories, dreams, and myths lends it a deep sense of the Noh Drama. Gary Snyder writes that Lake of Heaven is 'a remarkable text of mythopoetic quality_with a Noh flavor_that presents much of the ancient lore of Japan and the lore of the spirit world.' The story becomes a parable for the larger world, 'in which all of our old cultures and all of our old villages are becoming buried, sunken, and lost under the rising waters of the dams of industrialization and globalization.'
Chapter 1 Translator's Introduction Chapter 2 Acknowledgments Chapter 3 1. Birds Leaving Chapter 4 2. Oki No Miya Chapter 5 3. Moonshadow Bridge Chapter 6 4. Water Mirror Chapter 7 5. Secret Song Chapter 8 6. Delicate Flowers