Lost in Transition

Japan was teetering on the high heels of history, poised uncertainly between East and West, tradition and modernity, the tatami and the Twist. It was the early 1960s and, after a traumatic American occupation, the country was irreversibly democratic, newly prosperous and thoroughly confused.

Out of that fog stepped Nobuo Kojima, already one of Japan's leading writers, with a novel that caught the mood of the nation. Hoyo Kazoku, or Embracing Family, sold briskly, won the prestigious Tanizaki Junichiro Literary Prize—and then, much like Kojima, sank into obscurity. Now, 41 years later, the book is being published in English....

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