When every morning, a very animated Karolina tells us about yet another read story, we know that something’s up. Appalling at times, gripping and undeniably stunning writing of Taeko Kōno is one of the discoveries of 2018.
Toddler Hunting and Other Stories is a collection of best works of Kōno from the 1960s. “Kani” (“Crabs”) won a prestigious Akutagawa Award in 1963, and “Yuki” (“Snow”) was nominated the year before (You’ll read about the Award and this year’s nominated works on our Tajfun blog!). No wonder: reading her stories is an intense experience, as her works have an unsettling, obsessive beauty in them.
In her writing, she often touches upon dark topics. Sometimes, they’re even abhorrent — domestic abuse, sadomasochism, murder. But the central motif of her writing is trauma and finding yourself. As the reader sinks deeper into the text, they grow more conscious of the fact that Kōno uses heavy topics not to shock the audience but instead compel them to think about the origins of our darker side. The side that lurks in each one of us.
A phenomenal collection of stories that will elicit from you an entire range of emotions, and yet you still won’t be able to put it down.
And these endings that leave you with an aftertaste of darkness and beckon you to sink into it. Just like last few lines from “Night Journey”…
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