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Grass For My Pillow Hardcover – Aug 27 2002

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (Aug. 27 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231126581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231126588
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.4 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,886,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Understated yet powerfully effective.... Maryua's restrained prose mirrors the constriction of Hamada's thoughts and experience, while his amazing attention to detail renders an unquestionably real world for the narrative to exist within.

(Christine Thomas San Francisco Chronicle)

Many artists have either idealized pre-surrender Japan as a golden age untainted by Westernization or criticized the blind acceptance of military objectives, but Maruya refuses to gloss over the former or treat the latter as more enlightened.

(Village Voice)

Virtuosic... a cornucopia of delights... Keene's translation dexterously reflects Maruya's linguistic exuberance.

(The New Yorker)

A masterly realistic novel, and one of the best out of the Far East in many years.


This thoughtful book gives a wonderful insight into Japanese life, both the greater cultural beliefs that shape the society as a whole and the minutiae that preoccupy each individual. Entertaining, informative and compassionate, this is a very worthwhile read. A tribute must also be paid to the translator.

(Janet Mary Tomson The Historical Novels Review)

[A] complete artistic success [in] its riddling marrative method... precise, mysterious, and moving.

(Times Literary Supplement)

About the Author

Saiichi Maruya is an award-winning novelist, translator, and critic. His novel Singular Rebellion was published in English to critical acclaim in 1986. He lives in Tokyo. Dennis Keene is one of the most respected translators of Japanese literature today. He has translated several of Maruya's books, including Singular Rebellion and A Mature Woman. He lives in Oxford, UK.

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A quiet, meditative novel about a Japanese man, Hamada, who dodges the draft during the Pacific War (a crime of the worst sort) and travels around the country under an assumed name. Frequent back-and-forth time shifts, from the present (1960s, when the book was written) and back to the war, with wartime chronology all mixed up, but I didn't find it too confusing. Author Saiichi Maruya explores the delayed repercussions that Hamada's youthful act of rebellion has on him twenty years later, when he is a middle-aged office worker at a conservative Japanese university. The past cannot stay hidden, and for Hamada, it doesn't.
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