A Folktale

by Hiromi Kawakami

List Price: $11.95
Paperback | 3.9 x 5.9, 96 pages | ISBN 9781593765804

On a summer afternoon, Tsukiko and her former high school teacher have prepared and eaten somen noodles together.

“Tell me a story from long ago,” Sensei says.

“I wasn’t alive long ago,” Tsukiko says, “but should I tell you a story from when I was little?”

“Please do,” Sensei replies, and so Tsukiko tells him that, when she was a child, she awakened one day to find something with a pale red face and something with a dark red face in her room, arguing with each other. They had human bodies, long noses, and wings. They were tengu, creatures that appear in Japanese folktales.

The tengu attach themselves to Tsukiko and begin to follow her everywhere. Where did they come from and why are they here? And what other invisible and unacknowledged forces are acting upon Tsukiko’s seemingly peaceful world?

Enigmatic novella in which the world of Japanese mythology intrudes into the mortal realm . . . Like so much of Kawakami’s work, an elegant mystery that questions reality in the most ordinary of situations.

Kirkus Reviews

[Kawakami] impressively makes effective use of the short novella form to convey a world of detail . . . Simple and vivid illustrations pepper the story . . . The narration is evocative enough, but the illustrations add to the charm in this fairytale-like memory. Regardless of your age, there are moments that elicit childlike joy from the reader . . . A highly enjoyable and soothing read that leaves a lingering sentiment for the reader to reflect upon.

Daljinder Johal, Asymptote

An atmospheric novella that will delight both devotees as well as newcomers looking for something out of the ordinary."

—Adam Rosenbeck, International Examiner

Here [Kawakami] goes full pelt into fantasy, leaving quirky some ways behind with a tale in which folklore and modernity collide.

Iain Maloney, The Japan Times

Part fairy tale, in which some readers will discern a moral, part gentle reminiscence of childhood’s passing miracles and memorable pains, Kawakami’s compact novel is gentle, charming and smart, as ’pretty . . . and sad’ as the sparkling touches of the tengu.

Publishers Weekly

Brief, haunting.

Esther Allen, Words Without Borders

The word memento is a lovely and fitting description for this small companion story to Kawakami’s bestselling novel Strange Weather in Tokyo . . . A moving story of kindness with the subtle and beautiful writing Kawakami’s known for and captivating illustrations by Takako Yoshitomi, Parade will prove to be a precious keepsake for fans of Kawakami and Strange Weather in Tokyo.

Pierce Alquist, Book Riot

A whispered tale shared between lovers. Crisp and clear, like the breeze on a warm spring day, Hiromi Kawakami’s prose shines . . . Parade captures the hazy nature of memory alongside the innocence and naivety of childhood. Nostalgic and warm, Kawakami’s latest offers a fragmentary glimpse at easy companionship.

Melissa Ratcliff, Paperback Paris

A thorough delight . . . An endearing and abstract modern Japanese folk tale--a tiny little story told by one of Japan’s most precious and beloved contemporary writers.

Will Heath, Books and Bao

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