Lake of Heaven

Lake of Heaven : An Original Translation of the Japanese Novel

3.58 (17 ratings by Goodreads)
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Lake of Heaven is the story of a traditional mountain village in Japan that is destroyed in the process of constructing a dam. It tells of the lives of the displaced villagers as they struggle to retain their traditional culture_including their stories, dances, music, mythology, and dreams_in the face of displacement, environmental destruction, and rapid modernization. Although fictional, the work is rooted in the events of actual villages in the mountains of Kyushu and Ishimure's imaginative reconstructions of their people's tales. Lake of Heaven considerably stretches the familiar Western conceptions of the novel form. Its interweaving of local stories, dreams, and myths lends it a deep sense of the Noh Drama. Gary Snyder writes that Lake of Heaven is 'a remarkable text of mythopoetic quality_with a Noh flavor_that presents much of the ancient lore of Japan and the lore of the spirit world.' The story becomes a parable for the larger world, 'in which all of our old cultures and all of our old villages are becoming buried, sunken, and lost under the rising waters of the dams of industrialization and globalization.'show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 356 pages
  • Lexington Books
  • MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739131370
  • 9780739131374

Review quote

With the advent of these translations of Paradise in the Sea of Sorrow and &ltLake of Heaven, one of the great literary figures of contemporary Japan, who is also one of the heroes of local resistance to corporate pollution becomes available to Anglophone readers?.Students come away with another history of industrial development and environmental damage that parallels and diverges from that of other First World countries. At the same time, the great emotional power of Ishimure's writing gives thema sense of connection to individuals and cultures that might otherwise alienate them. Through her combination of research, protest, and empathy, Ishimure provides a fine model of the writer as activist and the artist as defender... Ishimure's storytelling is spellbinding. . . .A profoundly mythic story offering 'the real meaning of existence' to a broken world, this novel unfolds as a contemporary masterwork. Highly recommended..... A remarkable text of mythopoetic quality?with a noh flavor?that presents much of the ancient lore of Japan and the lore of the spirit world?and is in a way a kind of myth-drama, not a novel.....--Gary Snyder Not for nothing is Ishimure Michiko seen in Japan as a prophet. In Lake of Heaven, she speaks to the contemporary maelstrom from the country's neglected and sacrificed up-country. The world she creates in the surrounds of a flooded Kyushu village isone where the community of ancestors, residents, and spirits is celebrated and harmony restored between human, natural, and supernatural orders. Readers are left to ponder what lessons today's alienated and anguished humanity may learn from the primevalJapanese experience...--Gavan McCormack, The Australian National Universityshow more

About Michiko Ishimure

Bruce Allen is an associate professor in the Department of Foreign Languages, School of Medicine, Juntendo University, more

Rating details

17 ratings
3.58 out of 5 stars
5 12% (2)
4 35% (6)
3 53% (9)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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