The Paris Review

A Study of Kanai Mieko

Photo: Kuwabara Kineo.

Kanai Mieko writes in several genres: poetry, fiction, and criticism—most notably on film and photography. We, who know no Japanese, will probably never read her criticism on film and photography, although this is what we most desire.

Kanai Mieko is highly acclaimed in Japan. She has also been described as noncommittal, apolitical, and frivolous.

One critic laments “that the author, whose talent is comparable to that of Salman Rushdie, would take up such a light, meaningless subject as an ordinary housewife’s uneventful life when she could, and should, be concerned with ideological and political issues of import.”

Kanai Mieko ranks Jane Austen higher than Dostoyevsky.

She’s not interested in describing objects; she wants to accentuate their amorphous nature.

In 1997, Kanai published a novel called , or . It isn’t available in English. I read about it in Atsuko Sakaki’s book, . Sakaki gave Kanai’s novel the English title. In an earlier paper, she called it .

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