BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Strange Light Afar: Tales of the Supernatural from Old Japan by Rui Umezawa, illustrated by Mikiko Fujita

Stange Light Afar by Rui Umezawa on BookDragonHow did we get to the month of Halloween already? To get you ready for the upcoming fright-fest, check out these eight spooky tales that have managed to stay scary for generations. Lost ghosts, evil spirits, deceptive other-worldly beings, hauntings, murders and worse. Goosebumps gotcha yet?

A young boy who loses his mother on a wintry night grows up to marry her murderer. A tortured samurai commits suicide in order to keep his promised return to his beloved adoptive family. One brother’s envy for another has gruesome consequences.

A lonely man holds on to the woman of his dreams only through selfish deception. A buffoonish monk ruins his one chance to witness the Buddha’s teachings centuries before. A cranky young man addicted to sake has a life-altering deep sea experience. And, most importantly, beware the wife wrongly murdered!

Oh, my.

Adapted from traditional Japanese tales of centuries past, Japanese Canadian novelist/essayist Rui Umezawa explains in his “Afterword” how he’s transformed narratives that were originally meant to be more “cautionary” and “didactic” into contemporary renderings: “characters that were flat in their original incarnations have been given depth, and their previously peculiar, incomprehensible actions result from motives and pathologies.” In other words, they’re convincingly scarier than ever.

Paired with Japanese German artist Mikiko Fujita’s stark black-and-white illustrations that ooze an old-world eeriness, this collection is an ideal starting text for the holiday horrors ahead. That next moonless night when all the ghouls crawl out will be the perfect time to explore this Strange Light Afar. Just make sure you’re not alone …!

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2015 (United States)


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