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...in the title of this volume [Tawada] chooses to face the bridge, to stare it down, perhaps, refusing to cross. Through her writing she seeks to create a new kind of bridge––not as a structure built of stone or concrete, but as a physical process, a continuing dance.

—Margaret Mitsutani

From Japan to Vietnam to Amsterdam to the Canary Islands, these three new tales by master storyteller Yoko Tawada float between cultures, identities, and the dreamwork of the imagination


Facing the Bridge

Fiction by Yoko Tawada

When he watched Michael Jackson’s videos, every cell in Tamao’s body started to seethe: he even felt his appearance begin to change. His friends all said plastic surgery was in bad taste. But didn’t everyone harbor a secret desire for a new face? His own was as plain as a burlap sack, so he put it out of his mind and studied hard to compensate for how dull he looked. He told himself that fretting over one’s appearance was a job for women. But deep down, doesn’t every man who lacks confidence in his looks yearn for that moment when the Beast turns into a handsome young man? -- from Facing the Bridge reading Yoko Tawada becomes an obsession, like watching the films of Catherine Deneuve. In Facing the Bridge, Tawada’s second story collection with New Directions, obsession becomes delight as the reader is absorbed into three tales where identities flicker and shift within borders as wide as the mind.

published May 1st, 2007