The Bridegroom Was a Dog
by Yoko Tawada
Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani
The Bridegroom Was a Dog is perhaps the Japanese writer Yoko Tawada’s most famous work. Its initial publication in 1998 garnered admiration from The New Yorker, which praised it as a “fast-moving, mysteriously compelling tale that has the dream quality of Kafka.”
The Bridegroom Was a Dog begins with a schoolteacher telling a fable to her students. In the fable, a princess promises her hand in marriage to a dog that has licked her bottom clean. The story takes an even stranger twist when that very dog appears to the schoolteacher in real life as a doglike man. A romantic — and sexual — courtship develops, much to the chagrin of her friends, who have suspicions about the man’s identity.