Waiting for Tamura

Tamura wa mada ka / 田村はまだか

AuthorKasumi Asakura
ISBN 9784334748692
Page Count 303 pages
Size 15.4 x 10.5 cm (HxW)
First Edition February 2008
Category Literature, Fiction
Publisher Kobunsha
  • Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers
Foreign Sales
  • Traditional Chinese,
Traditional ChineseCITE

Waiting for Tamura

Tamura wa mada ka / 田村はまだか


Five former grade-school classmates who are now 40—three men and two women—are at a bar in Sapporo’s Susukino entertainment district following a class reunion. Tamura, a classmate who couldn’t make the main gathering, is supposed to meet them there, but a late-season snowstorm has snarled traffic and delayed his arrival. The sole proprietor of the bar joins the conversation as they share memories of Tamura and talk about their own lives since finishing grade school 28 years before, returning frequently to the refrain of “Still no Tamura?”

Tamura had stood apart from the crowd already in the sixth grade. He lived hand-to-mouth with a sloth of a mother whose man troubles never ceased, but his grades were top-of-the-class, and he was good at sports as well. Though generally a boy of few words, he created quite a stir by telling the class outcast that he liked her. After finishing grade school, he was sent to live with some distant relatives; he later went through an apprenticeship to become a tofu maker, and had in fact ended up marrying the girl.

Among the many things revealed in the course of the conversation, two of those present have secretly been lovers, despite each being married. The clock moves past three in the morning, and Tamura still hasn’t arrived. Finally a call comes in from his wife, who explains that Tamura was in an accident on the way to the bar in which he lost a leg, and is now in surgery. The five immediately head for the hospital . . . A brilliant adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot.

About the Author

Kasumi Asakura朝倉 かすみ

Kasumi Asakura (1960–) didn’t try her hand at fiction until she was 30, and apparently only at the urging of a friend. Before this, she had been a reader of somewhat unusual habits, spending an entire year working her way through the various modern Japanese translations of The Tale of Genji. Even then, it wasn’t until she was married and in her forties, and after her former writing teacher died, that she began submitting her work regularly to new-writer contests. In 2003, her short story Komadori-san no koto (About Komadori-san) received the Hokkaido Shimbun Press Literary Award. When her mid-length Kimo, yakeru (Heart, Aches) won the Shosetsu Gendai Prize for New Writers the following year, she had fully arrived. In 2009, her novel Tamura wa mada ka (Waiting for Tamura) was awarded the Yoshikawa Eiji Prize for New Writers. Her other titles include Rokomoshon (Locomotion) and Kanno rensa (Response Sequence). She is admired by critics and readers alike for her ability to penetrate the subtlest workings of the heart.

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