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Edited by one of Japan’s leading and internationally acclaimed writers, this collection of short stories was compiled to mark the fortieth anniversary of the August 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Here some of Japan’s best and most representative writers chronicle and re-create the impact of this tragedy on the daily lives of peasants, city professionals, artists, children, and families. From the “crazy” iris that grows out of season to the artist who no longer paints in color, the simple details described in these superbly crafted stories testify to the enormity of change in Japanese life, as well as in the future of our civilization. Included are “The Crazy Iris” by Masuji Ibuse, “Summer Flower” by Tamiki Hara, “The Land of Heart’s Desire” by Tamiki Hara, “Human Ashes” by Katsuzo Oda, “Fireflies” by Yoka Ota, “The Colorless Paintings” by Ineko Sata, “The Empty Can” by Kyoko Hayashi, “The House of Hands” by Mitsuharu Inoue, and “The Rite” by Hiroko Takenishi.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
'The Crazy Iris' edited by Kenzaburo Oe is a collection of stories about the dropping the atomic bombs. These stories are not from a historical context or from a military standpoint, but of normal, relatable people. The stories cover the carnage seen through the eyes of a twelve year old to the memories of women going back thirty years to the high school they once attended. It also covers how the outlying villages were indirectly affected by the bombing through word of mouth and deaths of friends and families.
¿The Crazy Iris: And Other Stories of the Atomic Aftermath¿ is not an easy read. It is beautiful, haunting, tragic, astonishing, and will make your bile rise in anger that so many people--innocent civilians, women, and children--had to suffer so horribly and for so long. Pain did not end immediately after the atomic bombs were dropped, which instantly killed about a quarter of a million people, or in the subsequent years that saw an equal number die due to radiation poisoning and injuries incurred on those fateful days in August. The suffering continues as long as any survivors remain they are tortured with memories of friends and families gone. They grieve for the children they could never bear within their radiation-scarred wombs. They suffer insomnia, nightmares, and flashbacks. And they live with the horrible questioning and guilt that haunts all survivors: ¿Why them? Why not me?¿ The ten short stories are told by actual survivors, or writers who have direct connections to those poor souls who were at Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and August 9, 1945. The descriptions are vivid, visceral, and profoundly disturbing. The sadness is palpable. One wonders why this happened at all, and if the devastation that rendered so many people incapable of living a normal life was even contemplated by those in power that sent in the planes. My guess is that didn¿t know, they couldn¿t know. But we know now. Read this book. And never forget. I would give this book five stars, but it was just too sad. I don't know if anyone can understand that--I need to feel a little bit uplifted by a piece of literature before I give it my highest rating. This collection left me extremely depressed.