Forty Days and Forty Nights Fairy Tale

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Forty Days and Forty Nights Fairy Tale
Author: Jungo Aoki
Specifications: ISBN  978-4104741014
216 pages
13.8 x 19.2 cm / 5.5 x 7.7 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Shinchosha Publishing Co., Ltd.
Tokyo, 2005
Awards: Noma Prize for New Writers, 2005
Shincho Prize for New Writers, 2003
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A powerful first work, with numerous flashes of brilliance and defying easy description. Kazushi Hosaka, a member of the jury who awarded this title the Shincho Prize for New Writers, likened author Jungo Aoki's emergence to a sighting of Thomas Pynchon.

In the present-day suburbs of Tokyo, the first person narrator (probably a woman, but this is never made entirely clear) has a part-time job distributing flyers to houses and apartments. The quota is demanding, but so many postboxes have notices refusing to accept junk mail that the narrator has no choice but to take the surplus home to (her) cramped public housing, where it fills the tiny one-room space and kitchen. The narrator attends a course in creative writing at a community center, where a part-Russian male novelist teacher urges (her) to write a new kind of novel, but an initial burst of enthusiasm leads nowhere. The narrator begins writing a diary on July 4, but can only keep it going to the seventh before rewriting the four days' worth a total of ten times. Finally the narrator starts to write a fairy tale called "Flyers" about Claude and Chloe, a French couple, but then discovers s/he'll have to move out as the housing block is slated to be rebuilt . . .

Paired with this work is Aoki's second novella, Kureta no hotori de (Beside the Crater), which fuses two stories: the life of a man who lives, in primitive times, by a crater caused by the impact of another planet is juxtaposed with a present-day account of the excavation of his remains.