The Enlightenment of Katzuo Nakamatsu


Translated from by

Published: May 9, 2023


ISBN: 9781953861528
This item will be released on May 9, 2023.


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Book Description

Katzuo Nakamatsu is at sea after being forced out of his job as a literature professor without warning. He retreats into flânerie, musing with imaginary interlocutors, roaming the streets of Lima, and reciting the poems of Martín Adán. Slowly, to the “steady beat of his reptile feet,” Nakamatsu arranges his quiet ceremony of farewell. With an electric lunacy, he spruces himself up with a pinstripe tie, tortoiseshell glasses, and wooden cane, taking on the costume of an old man he knew as a child, hoping to grasp that man’s tenacious Japanese identity. Like a logic puzzle, Enlightenment calibrates Augusto Higa Oshiro’s own entangled Japanese-Peruvian identity. Reminiscent of Kurasawa’s film Ikiru, Enlightenment emerges from a dark and labyrinthine mindscape, unraveling toward sublime disintegration.

One of the best short novels in the Spanish language . . . alongside Miss Giacomini, Pedro Páramo, Aura, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
Fernando Iwasaki

One of the best novels of what had transpired of this century.
Javier Agreda

This indispensable book is a piece of silversmithing that wounds like a slim dagger in the warp and weft of the spirit.
José Güich, Correo

Augusto Higa Oshiro’s The Enlightenment of Katzuo Nakamatsu, in Jennifer Shyue’s miraculous translation, is blowing my mind. Higa Oshiro's words take me back to the moment when I first fell in love with literature as the process of threading myself through someone else’s incomparable eye. Oshiro’s summoning of life, of death, of the anatomy of solitude and the tactility of sight, and of the anguish and indomitability of the diasporic ancestors, is the dream—and the exhilarated darkening—of that original feeling.
Brandon Shimoda, author of The Grave on the Wall

Augusto Higa Oshiro’s febrile portrait of a man slowly losing his mind reads like a fever dream or an exorcism. After being forced to retire, Professor Katzuo Nakamatsu roams the streets of Lima mixing with other outcasts, expressing queer desire, and longing for love in a society where he and other Japanese Peruvians are detested ‘rancorously, hostilely, hatefully.’ Jennifer Shyue’s translation is breathtaking, each sentence gleaming with an intense, strange beauty, as Higa Oshiro limns ‘the charms of the night and the blackness of the world’ in this unforgettable novella.
May-lee Chai, author of Tomorrow in Shanghai & Other Stories and Useful Phrases for Immigrants, winner of the American Book Award