The Naked Eye

The Naked Eye

by Yoko Tawada
     
 

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“Tawada’s slender accounts of alienation achieve a remarkable potency.”—Michael Porter, The New York Times

A precocious Vietnamese high school student — known as the pupil with “the iron blouse”—in Ho Chi Minh City is invited to an International Youth Conference in East Berlin. But, in East Berlin, as she

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Overview

“Tawada’s slender accounts of alienation achieve a remarkable potency.”—Michael Porter, The New York Times

A precocious Vietnamese high school student — known as the pupil with “the iron blouse”—in Ho Chi Minh City is invited to an International Youth Conference in East Berlin. But, in East Berlin, as she is preparing to present her paper in Russian on “Vietnam as a Victim of American Imperialism,” she is abruptly kidnapped and taken to a small town in West Germany. After a strange spell of domestic-sexual boredom with her lover-abductor—and though “the Berlin Wall was said to be more difficult to break through than the Great Wall of China” — she escapes on a train to Moscow . . . but mistakenly arrives in Paris. Alone, broke, and in a completely foreign land, Anh (her false name) loses herself in the films of Catherine Deneuve as her real adventures begin.

Dreamy, meditative, and filled with the gritty everyday perils of a person living somewhere without papers (at one point Anh is subjected to some vampire-like skin experiments), The Naked Eye is a novel that is as surprising as it is delightful—each of the thirteen chapters titled after and framed by one of Deneuve’s films. “As far as I was concerned,” the narrator says while watching Deneuve on the screen, “the only woman in the world was you, and so I did not exist.” By the time 1989 comes along and the Iron Curtain falls, story and viewer have morphed into the dislocating beauty of both dancer and dance.

Editorial Reviews

Anis Shivani - The Brooklyn Rail
“A distinguished contribution to the unique paranoid style of the new European novel.”
Benjamin Lytal
“Her finest stories dramatize the fate of the individual in a mobilized world.”
Booklist
“Tawada’s chilling evocations of disorientation are the peers of Paul Bowles’ most chilling stories.”
Anis Shivani - The Huffington Post
“Honorable Mention: one of the 10 Best Books of 2009.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780811223508
Publisher:
New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date:
12/10/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,079,503
File size:
599 KB

Meet the Author

Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, moved to Hamburg when she was twenty-two, and then moved again to Berlin in 2006. She writes in both Japanese and German, and has received the Akutagawa Prize, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Goethe Medal.
Susan Bernofsky is the acclaimed translator of Hermann Hesse, Robert Walser, and Jenny Erpenbeck, and the recipient of many awards, including the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Hermann Hesse Translation Prize. She teaches literary translation at Columbia University and lives in New York.

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