The Harvard Square Book Circle, our in-store book club, discusses Yoko Tadawa’s The Emissary, translated by Margaret Mitsutani—a breathtakingly light-hearted meditation on mortality, and winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Translated Literature.
About The Emissary
Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with any get-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his grandfather Yoshiro, who worries about him constantly. They carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time, with all the children born ancient―frail and gray-haired, yet incredibly compassionate and wise. Mumei may be enfeebled and feverish, but he is a beacon of hope, full of wit and free of self-pity and pessimism. Yoshiro concentrates on nourishing Mumei, a strangely wonderful boy who offers “the beauty of the time that is yet to come.”
A delightful, irrepressibly funny book, The Emissary is filled with light. Yoko Tawada, deftly turning inside-out “the curse,” defies gravity and creates a playful joyous novel out of a dystopian one, with a legerdemain uniquely her own.
Event Series: Harvard Square Book Circle
The Harvard Square Book Circle is Harvard Book Store’s monthly book discussion group. We read a wide range of contemporary and classic literature, both fiction and nonfiction. The Book Circle typically meets the last Monday of the month, at 7pm in the bookstore. Meetings last about one hour. Registration is not required and no commitment is necessary. We always welcome new participants.
If you are interested in receiving the Book Circle’s e-mail list, which provides updates and reminders about upcoming meetings, send us a message at email@example.com.