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'Once And Forever' Turns Familiar Fairy-Tale Ideas Upside Down

Kenji Miyazawa is a beloved author in Japan; this book — a reissue of a 1993 story collection — balances chaos and kindness, natural and supernatural to build a world in which anything might happen.
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"All this is based on what I've heard from other people or worked out for myself. It may not be entirely true, though I for one believe it."

is the sort of book that makes you very happy there's an English translation, and very curious about the work of translation itself. This collection (a re-release of a 1993 edition, translated by John Bester) encompasses such a range ofis considered a modern classic — lives in the details, and when one story is about a flurry of preparations for the expected visit of the Buddha, and the next is a wicked joke about a suspiciously carnivorous restaurant, that's no small task.

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