Lament in the Night

Winner of the 2014 Outstanding Book Award -- Creative Writing, Association of Asian American Studies

Lament in the Night collects two remarkable novels by the author Shōson Nagahara, translated from the Japanese for the first time. The title novel, originally published in 1925, follows itinerant day laborer Ishikawa Sazuko as he prowls the back alleys and bathhouses of Los Angeles, looking for a meal, a job or just someone to hold onto. The second novel, The Tale of Osato, follows a young mother working her way through bars and nightclubs after being abandoned by her gambling-addicted husband. Written in a deadpan tone that is both evocative and precise, this dazzling exercise in 1920s naturalist noir promises to become a classic of American literature. This first-ever English language publication of Lament in the Night opens up a whole realm of American literature that has been woefully underpublished and unexplored--namely, the literary heritage of non-English-speaking immigrants in America. Nagahara was influenced by many Western writers--especially Knut Hamsun, whose work he translated into Japanese--and his novels combine the gritty sensibility of Los Angeles noir with elements of Japanese traditional storytelling and epistolary techniques.

 Andrew Way Leong
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