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Murder in the Age of Enlightenment: Essential Stories (Pushkin Press Classics)

Murder in the Age of Enlightenment: Essential Stories (Pushkin Press Classics)

Current price: $16.95
Publication Date: July 2nd, 2024
Pushkin Press Classics
Available for Preorder


Madness, murder and obsession: a stylishly original and fantastical collection of stories from an iconic Japanese writer

A collection of the 7 essential Akutagawa short stories, in a vivid and elegant translation – the perfect introduction to this master of prose

“A born short-story writer. . . one never tires of reading and re-reading his best works” – Haruki Murukami

From a nobleman's court, to the garden of paradise, to a lantern festival in Tokyo, these 7 shrot stories offer dazzling glimpses into moments of madness, murder and obsession.

  • A talented yet spiteful painter is given over to depravity in pursuit of artistic brilliance.
  • In the depth of hell, a robber spies a single spider's thread being lowered towards him.
  • When a body is found in an isolated bamboo grove, a kaleidoscopic account of violence and desire begins to unfold.

These are short stories from an unparalleled master of the form. Sublimely crafted and stylishly original, Akutagawa's writing is shot through with a fantastical sensibility. This collection, in a vivid translation by Bryan Karetnyk, brings together the most essential works from this iconic Japanese writer.

Part of the Pushkin Press Classics series: outstanding classic storytelling from around the world, in a stylishly original series design. From newly rediscovered gems to fresh translations of the world’s greatest authors, this series includes such authors as Stefan Zweig, Hermann Hesse, Ryūnosuke Akutagawa and Gaito Gazdanov.

About the Author

RYUNOSUKE AKUTAGAWA was one of Japan's leading literary figures in the Taisho period. Regarded as the father of the Japanese short story, he produced over 150 in his short lifetime. Haunted by the fear that he would inherit his mother's madness, Akutagawa suffered from worsening mental health problems towards the end of his life and committed suicide aged 35 by taking an overdose of barbiturates.

BRYAN KARETNYK is a British writer and translator. His translations for Pushkin Press include several works by Gaito Gazdanov, Irina Odoevtseva and Rynunosuke Akutagawa. He is also the editor of the Penguin Classics anthology Russian Émigré Short Stories from Bunin to Yanovsky.

Praise for Murder in the Age of Enlightenment: Essential Stories (Pushkin Press Classics)

"One never tires of reading and re-reading his work. Akutagawa was a born short-story writer." - Haruki Murakami

"The quintessential writer of his era." - David Pearce

"Extravagance and horror and in his work but never in his style, which is always crystal-clear." - Jorge Luis Borges

"He was both traditional and experimental and always compelling and fearless... There is no writer quite like him." - Howard Norman