Stunning tales from master storyteller: superbly nuanced prose, subtly exposing the human psyche. Borges loved him.
Ryunosuke Akutagawa blends a sense of sad inevitability with subtle irony. Reflective and often humorous, these tales reveal an enormous amount about Japanese culture, while the inner struggles of the characters always strike the universal.
Ryunosuke Akutagawa (March 1, 1892 - July 24, 1927)was a Japanese writer active in Taisho period Japan. He is regarded as the "Father of the Japanese short story," and is noted for his superb style and finely detailed stories that explore the darker side of human nature.
The flow of his language is the best feature of Akutagawa's style. Never stagnant, it moves along like a living thing . . . His choice of words is intuitive, natural - and beautiful.--Haruki Murakami The works of Akutagawa comprise, in the literary sense, an indispensable anatomy of melancholy. He was both traditional and experimental and always compelling and fearless. As Joseph Brodsky said, Akutagawa loved the world strangely. There is no writer quite like him. The translations of Charles De Wolf make for the perfect duet between languages. This is a wonderful collection. --Howard Norman
Extravagance and horror are in his work but never in his style, which is always crystal-clear.--Jorge Luis Borges