“Somewhere between flash fiction and vignettes, this collection creates a neighborhood where the surreal is treated as though it is reality, as though there is nothing strange about people hatching from eggs, a school made of sweets, or squishy doll brains in a drawer.
Kawakami’s turns are as quick as the prose and the endings are tenuous at best until the larger picture begins to form across characters. These stories require the reader to embrace the weird and enjoy the uncanny, many of the stories floating in the space between nightmare and dream-state.”
A bossy child who lives under a white cloth near a tree; a schoolgirl who keeps doll’s brains in a desk drawer; an old man with two shadows, one docile and one rebellious; a diplomat no one has ever seen who goes fishing at an artificial lake no one has ever heard of. These are some of the inhabitants of People from My Neighborhood.
In their lives, details of the local and everyday—the lunch menu at a tiny drinking place called the Love, the color and shape of the roof of the tax office—slip into accounts of duels, prophetic dreams, revolutions, and visitations from ghosts and gods. In twenty-six “palm of the hand” stories—fictions small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand and brief enough to allow for dipping in and out—Hiromi Kawakami creates a universe ruled by mystery and transformation.