Scattered All Over the Earth | Granta

  • Published: 02/06/2022
  • ISBN: 9781783789030
  • Granta Books
  • 224 pages

Scattered All Over the Earth

Yoko Tawada

Welcome to the not-too-distant future. Japan, having vanished into the sea, is now remembered as ‘the land of sushi’. Hiruko, a former citizen and a climate refugee herself, has a job teaching immigrant children in Denmark with her invented language Panska (Pan-Scandinavian): ‘homemade language. no country to stay in. three countries I experienced. no time to learn three different languages. might mix up. insufficient space in brain. so made new language. homemade language most Scandinavian people understand’.

Hiruko soon makes new friends to join her in her travels searching for anyone who can still speak her mother tongue: Knut, a graduate student in linguistics, who is fascinated by her Panska; Akash, an Indian man who lives as a woman, wearing a red sari; Nanook, an Eskimo from Greenland, first mistaken as another refugee from the land of sushi; and Nora, who works at the Karl Marx House in Trier. All these characters take turns narrating chapters, which feature an umami cooking competition; a dead whale; an ultra- nationalist named Breivik; Kakuzo robots; uranium; and an Andalusian bull fight. Episodic, vividly imagined and mesmerising, Scattered All Over the Earth is another sui generis masterwork by Yoko Tawada.

Tawada writes beautifully about unbearable things

Sara Baume, author of Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Magnificently strange

RIVKA GALCHEN, NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE

Every Yoko Tawada novel pulls the ground out from under us, but gives us new senses in return. Scattered All Over the Earth, a novel of created, found, remembered and possible languages - of what lies at the very heart of listening - is that rare work of art: something entirely new in the world

Madeleine Thien, author of Do Not Say We Have Nothing

The Author

Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, moved to Hamburg when she was twenty-two, and then to Berlin in 2006. She writes in both Japanese and German, and has published several books-stories, novels, poems, plays, essays-in both languages. She has received numerous awards for her writing including the Akutagawa Prize, the Kleist-Prize, the Adelbert von Chamisso Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Goethe Medal. New Directions publishes her story collections Where Europe Begins (with a Preface by Wim Wenders) and Facing the Bridge, and her novel of Catherine Deneuve obsession, The Naked Eye.

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