The Goddess Chronicle by Natsuo Kirino
Translated by Rebecca Copeland
Published by Canongate
In a place like no other, on an island in the shape of a tear drop, two sisters are born into a family of the oracle. Kamikuu, with creamy skin and almond eyes, is admired far and wide; Namima, small but headstrong, learns to live in her sister’s shadow. On her sixth birthday, Kamikuu is presented with a feast of sea-serpent egg soup, sashimi and salted fish, and a string of pure pearls. Kamikuu has been chosen as the next Oracle, while Namima is shocked to discover she must serve the goddess of darkness. So begins an adventure that will take Namima from her first experience of love to the darkness of the underworld. But what happens when she returns to the island for revenge?
Natsuo Kirino, the queen of Japanese crime fiction, turns her hand to an exquisitely dark tale based on the Japanese myth of Izanami and Izanagi. A fantastical, fabulous tour-de-force, it is a tale as old as the earth about ferocious love and bitter revenge.
Natsuo Kirino, born in 1951, is the author of twenty-one novels, four short-stories collections and an essay collection. She is the recipient of seven of Japan’s premier literary awards including the Mystery Writers of Japan Award for Out and the Izumi Kyoka Prize for Literature for Grotesque. Her work has been published in twenty-eight languages worldwide and several of her books have also been turned into movies. Out was the first of her novels to appear in English and was nominated for an Edgar Award. She lives in Tokyo.
Rebecca Copeland received her Ph.D. in Japanese Literature from Columbia University in 1986. This study was subsequently published as The Sound of the Wind: The Life and Works of Uno Chiyo (University of Hawai’i Press, 1992.) Dr. Copeland’s study of Meiji women writers, Lost Leaves: Women Writers of Meiji Japan was published by the University of Hawai’i Press in 2000 and was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2001. The University of Hawai’i Press also published her edited volume Woman Critiqued: Translated Essays on Japanese Women’s Writing in 2006. Copeland co-edited a collection of essays concerning the relationship between women writers and their fathers–both biological and cultural–with Dr. Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen of University of Michigan, The Father-Daughter Plot: Japanese Literary Women and the Law of the Father (University of Hawai’i Press, 2001) and a collection of translations, Modern Murasaki: Writing by Women of Meiji Japan with Dr. Melek Ortabasi of Hamilton College (Columbia University Press, 2006). Grotesque, Copeland’s translation of a Kirino Natsuo title, was published by Knopf in 2007.