Co-Presented by the University of Pittsburgh Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures and MONKEY x Stone Bridge Press, award-winning author Hiromi Itō and esteemed translator Jeffrey Angles present a reading of The Thorn Puller, Hiromi’s first novel to appear in English. The semi-autobiographical and incomparable novel explores the absurdities, complexities, and challenges experienced by a woman caring for her two families: her husband and daughters in California and her aging parents in Japan. As Hiromi shuttles back and forth between these two starkly different cultures, she creates a powerful and entertaining narrative about what it means to live and die in a globalized society. She channels a myriad of voices drawn from Japanese folklore, poetry, literature, and pop culture, the result of which is a generic chimera—part poetry, part prose, part epic. As her world delves into waves of chaos coming from seemingly every direction, Hiromi relies on sardonic humor and Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo, a being believed to remove the thorns of human suffering, to ease her anguish. The Thorn Puller is a darkly humorous novel with observations on life, death, and the in-between that make for a fearless look at what every adult in every country must face: growing older as their loved ones do too.
You can purchase your own copy of Hiromi’s book, The Thorn Puller, at City of Asylum Bookstore.
About the Authors:
Hiromi Itō came to national attention in Japan in the 1980s for her groundbreaking poetry about pregnancy, childbirth, and female sexuality. After relocating to the U.S. in the 1990s, she began to write about the immigrant experience and biculturalism. In recent years, she has focused on the ways that dying and death shape human experience. English translations include Killing Kanoko and Wild Grass on the Riverbank.
Jeffrey Angles is a writer and professor of Japanese at Western Michigan University. He is the first non-native poet writing in Japanese to win the Yomiuri Prize for Literature, a highly coveted prize for poetry. His translation of the modernist classic The Book of the Dead by Shinobu Orikuchi won both the Miyoshi Award and the Scaglione Prize for translation.
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