Spring Sleepers – Kyoko Yoshida

Spring Sleepers is the third book in the Keshiki series. I’m not sure if I like it or not, but this was definitely a weird story. I tried to read it a second time, but seeing that nothing has changed; I just gave up.

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Spring Sleepers is about Yuki, and he has not slept in two months. He has a ‘genuine insomnia’, and he likes to brag about it as the other people do. They even compare their insomnia and be happy if they haven’t been sleeping the longest. But everything changes when Yuki visits a sanatorium. Here he learns that he will lose his memory gradually, so there is nothing to brag about anymore.

Spring Sleepers - Kyoko Yoshida

Although this story is very short, it is not easy to follow as the narration is highly strange and unconventional. If you are into this kind of stories, you’ll love this.

About the book: Spring Sleepers

Yuki has not slept in two months. He’s been infected with genuine insomnia — a condition that is spreading throughout the city’s high-profile businessmen. At first, this is a condition worth boasting about: the less Yuki sleeps, the better he feels, and he gathers with the city’s elite in clubs and bars to compare how long they’ve been awake. It is only when he visits a sanatorium that Yuki is told his memory is quickly deteriorating, and, suddenly, Yoshida’s fragmented style starts to make sense… 

Dream-like, sensual and unnerving, these offerings by Kyoko Yoshida, a Japanese author writing in English, surprise the reader with their texture and imagery. Spring Sleepers, the title story, frames insomnia as the contemporary condition the narrative sliding from metropolitan hyperawareness to delirious exhaustion in the space of a few pages. Spring Awakening, a koan-like mediation, describes a newly born eel emerging from then returning to its home. Finally, Yoshida reflects on her time spent in Norwich, the City of Writing.

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About the author: Kyoko Yoshida

Kyoko Yoshida (fiction writer, translator; Japan) was born and raised in Munakata (Fukuoka Pref.) on the Sea of Genkai in Japan, went to college and graduate school in Kyoto, studied creative writing in Milwaukee at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and taught in the port cities of Yokohama and Tokyo. She was at IWP in 2005 and a visiting fellow at the Program of Literary Arts at Brown University in 2006-7. Currently, she lives in Kyoto and teaches American Literature at Ritsumeikan University.

Spring Sleepers - Kyoko Yoshida

Reading this book contributed to these challenges: 

Keshiki – New Voices from Japan

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