Sam Leith

Books Podcast: Jay Rubin and the world of Japanese stories

Books Podcast: Jay Rubin and the world of Japanese stories
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In this week's Spectator books podcast I'm talking to the distinguished scholar of Japanese literature Jay Rubin, editor of the new Penguin Book of Japanese Short Stories. Many of us in the West know little of Japanese literature beyond, perhaps, Haruki Murakami, Yukio Mishima and perhaps Banana Yoshimoto and Kenzaburo Oe. Jay fills in the blanks. Did you know the Japanese novel got going centuries before Don Quixote? That Japanese novelists were producing pitiless self-portraits decades before Knausgaard's voguish 'auto-fictions'? Or that Murakami (good though he is) is almost completely unrepresentative of what's going on in Japanese literature? All this, plus the story of Japanese women's writing and the place of manga in the culture. Highly recommended for anyone, like me, who wants to know a bit more.