The Last Children of Tokyo by Yoko Tawada


This is a most unusual dystopian novel.

There is little or no violence. There is a heartfelt sadness that is like a sob, suppressed as a lump in the throat. Yoshira and Mumei are great grandfather and young son. The exploration of their relationship is gentle and thoughtful. In this damaged world the old live extraordinarily long lives while the children often do not reach adulthood. The pleasures in life such as food and being in the natural world are absent. Language is perverted, renaming things to make reality appear less awful.

Tawada makes us think about a horrific future which we the responsible adults might have to live with. It is a thought-provoking novel and that is always good.

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