‘I was ever so keen to visit the Aran Islands, but unfortunately, I died before ever making it out of Japan.’
‘The night was sealed off completely – or so it seemed.’
‘There, behind glass panes separating you from the good children, from life itself, you are kept company by your dread.’
‘The hole felt as though it was exactly my size – a trap made just for me.’
Jesse Kirkwood’s translation of ‘Nocturne’ by Yūshō Takiguchi is the winner of the 2020 Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize.
‘I began to lie awake at night thinking about all the terrible things I’d ever done, listing them quietly in my head, each selfish little thing, my body numb with guilt.’
‘It’s normal not to be offered anything to eat or drink when you are a princess.’
‘My face, not the glass, was blurry. I had no idea what I really looked like besides lumpy, fuzzy, profuse.’
‘She liked to eat until her thighs felt gelatinous and slick with sweat, and her stomach ballooned out, sore and firm as though she had drunk cement that had now set.’
‘Space is marked and people do their best, but somewhere somebody made a false prophecy for the land’.
‘Every person who travelled here is unsteady, I can feel that.’
‘She began to count; it was easier this way, counting, because she would not have to remember how she felt. She only had to remember how long she had counted.’
‘He was long and white; his hands especially were long and white, and he sewed; he looked after the linen; he worked as a woman would; he lived in the house; he didn’t speak, he was rarely spoken to.’ Translated from the French by Stephanie Smee.
‘I know that I can trust you, and that death is silent. It’s never the loud things that kill us, the things that make us vomit and scream and cry. Those things are just looking for attention.’
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