Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure

A Tale That Begins with Fukushima

Hideo Furukawa. Translated by Doug Slaymaker with Akiko Takenaka

Columbia University Press

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure

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Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231178693

160 Pages

Format: Paperback

List Price: $20.00

Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231178686

160 Pages

Format: Hardcover

List Price: $60.00

Pub Date: March 2016

ISBN: 9780231542050

160 Pages

Format: E-book

List Price: $19.99

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure

A Tale That Begins with Fukushima

Hideo Furukawa. Translated by Doug Slaymaker with Akiko Takenaka

Columbia University Press

"As we passed from the city center into the Fukushima suburbs I surveyed the landscape for surgical face masks. I wanted to see in what ratios people were wearing such masks. I was trying to determine, consciously and unconsciously, what people do in response. So, among people walking along the roadway, and people on motorbikes, I saw no one with masks. Even among the official crossing guards outfitted with yellow flags and banners, none. All showed bright and calm. What was I hoping for exactly? The guilty conscience again. But then it was time for school to start. We began to see groups of kids on their way to school. They were wearing masks."

Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure is a multifaceted literary response to the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown that devastated northeast Japan on March 11, 2011. The novel is narrated by Hideo Furukawa, who travels back to his childhood home near Fukushima after 3/11 to reconnect with a place that is now doubly alien. His ruminations conjure the region's storied past, particularly its thousand-year history of horses, humans, and the struggle with a rugged terrain. Standing in the morning light, these horses also tell their stories, heightening the sense of liberation, chaos, and loss that accompanies Furukawa's rich recollections. A fusion of fiction, history, and memoir, this book plays with form and feeling in ways reminiscent of Vladimir Nabokov's Speak, Memory and W. G. Sebald's The Rings of Saturn yet draws its own, unforgettable portrait of personal and cultural dislocation.
This novel, which depicts the 3/11 triple disaster in northeastern Japan in all its complexity, is a marvel. Furukawa's austere writing is as sober as it is inventive and as elegiac as it is hopeful. Davinder Bhowmik, author of Writing Okinawa: Narrative Acts of Identity and Resistance
Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure is a stunning work of post-Fukushima literature by one of Japan's most prolific authors. Furukawa's powerful prose weaves together the fictional and documentary, guiding the reader through the disaster zone and an alternate history of the author's native Tohoku. A must for readers of natural and nuclear disaster fiction. Rachel DiNitto, author of Uchida Hyakken: A Critique of Modernity and Militarism in Prewar Japan
Furukawa's documentary-cum-novel is a response to the Fukushima nuclear disaster that disorients even as it coheres. Featuring fictional characters come to life and a ravaged landscape, Horses, Horses… is a profoundly unsettling take on our transience. Lit Hub
Horses, Horses is an essential text from one of Japan's most prolific and inventive novelists, likely to remain important long beyond our current five-year remove from the events of 3/11. Asymptote
Unexpected and rewarding for ambitious readers. Library Journal
There's a lot to reflect on in Horses, Horses. It's a powerful, stirring, and deeply personal commentary on the tragedy of 3/11. It's also a literary intervention of prodigious quality. Hans Rollman, PopMatters
Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure is an emotional, historical and, above all, literary triumph that really must be experienced first-hand.... An absolute must-read. Alice French, Japan Society Review
Literary balm for the pain of 2016, Hideo Furukawa's Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure is a triumph of imagination.... This is a book that will stay with you. Japan Times
Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale That Begins with Fukushima
Translator's Afterword
Translator's Acknowledgments

Read an excerpt:

About the Author

Hideo Furukawa is a novelist based in Tokyo. He has received the Noma Literary New Face Prize, the Mystery Writers of Japan Award, the Japan SF Grand Prize, and the Yukio Mishima Award. He is also author of the novel Belka, Why Don't You Bark? (2012), translated into English by Michael Emmerich.

Doug Slaymaker is professor of Japanese at the University of Kentucky.

Akiko Takenaka is associate professor of Japanese history at the University of Kentucky.