The Flying Trapeze

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The Flying Trapeze
Author: Hideo Okuda
Specifications: ISBN  978-4163228709
265 pages
13.2 x 19.2 cm / 5.3 x 7.7 in (WxH)
Category: Fiction
Publisher: Bungeishunju Ltd.
Tokyo, 2004
Agents: Bureau des Copyrights Francais
Awards: Naoki Prize, 2004
Translations: French
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Country Languages Publisher Title ISBN Translator Affiliate Link
France French Nouvelles Editions Womnat Un yakuza chez le psy 978-2919186556 Jacques Lalloz
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This second in a series of short-story compilations centering on Ichiro Irabu, a doctor of psychiatric medicine, follows Irabu at age 36. As the son of a doctor he is slated to take over the family hospital one day; for the time being he operates a psychiatric practice in the basement of the complex. A pale, fat man, he seems more like a hippopotamus or walrus. He has been divorced once, is hopelessly attached to his mother, and lacks all sophistication. This grown man with the mental age of a five-year old drives a Porsche, surrounds himself with pricy luxury items, and greets his patients with a cheerful "Come right in!" He takes particular pleasure in watching them receive injections. Manami, the nurse in charge of this task, is a full-breasted woman with dyed brown hair and an exhibitionist streak.

The five linked stories are crafted around the plot device of patients coming to Dr. Irabu with psychological issues. The patient in the title piece is Yamashita, a 32-year-old circus performer whose specialty is the flying trapeze. The son of performing parents, he has grown up in the circus. For the last three years he has been the marquee act, but recently he has committed a string of errors, and he comes to see whether Dr. Irabu can help.

Irabu, however, is uninterested in offering treatment. Fascinated instead by the trapeze, he visits the circus, where he tries his hand at acrobatics. At last he makes it to the center ring. There he puts on an utterly ridiculous show, coaxing laughter from the audience even for his flubs. Watching this, Yamashita gradually feels himself healing . . .

The Naoki Prize jurors were unanimous in their praise for author Hideo Okuda's deft humorous touch. A third volume in the series, Chocho senkyo (Mayoral Election), followed in 2006.

Contact for Europe: Bureau des Copyrights Français / Corinne Quentin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)