Kelly Luce


Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail: Stories

hana-sasaki-cover-finalThree Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail: Stories
by Kelly Luce
A Strange Object, 2013
152 pages / $14.95 buy from A Strange Object








1. Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail is the debut story collection by Kelly Luce.

2. It fits on a bookshelf of modern Japanese writing somewhere between Yoko Ogawa’s Revenge and Banana Yoshimoto, maybe even one shelf up from Haruki Murakami.

3. The only thing is that Kelly Luce grew up in Brookfield, Illinois.

4. How strict is the “write what you know” edict? On Big Think, Nathan Englander reminds us that this advice is too often misconstrued. It really means we should write from a place of emotional familiarity, not that we’re limited to autobiographical writing.

5. But are there limitations when we talk about writers depicting foreign cultures? This story collection seems very Japanese (if a book can even be “very Japanese”) and yet, it’s distinctly American, too.

6. When I was nine I was flipping through channels and caught the end of Akira on basic cable. I had no clue what was going on, but in the weeks, months, and years to follow I found that it left an indelible mark on me—a predilection towards the uncomfortably strange.

7. A Strange Object is the name of the independent press that published Three Scenarios in Which Hana Sasaki Grows a Tail. They’re based out of Austin, TX. This is their first book, too.

8. This is strictly conjecture, but Japanese culture affords for a strangeness that is uniquely its own. Look at all of the Japanese fiction out there: Akutagawa and Mishima, Ryu Murakami and Haruki Murakami, and the scores of manga and J-horror.

9. The characters in Kelly Luce’s collection are outsiders. Many are Americans who move to Japan for work or to connect with the culture that they find so entrancing. Some are only half Asian, an anomaly to the native Japanese—not gaijin, but not Japanese, either. Others are fully Japanese, but do not fit in as with the Japanese school girls who seek refuge from the tedium of their lives through a unique karaoke machine and with the Japanese widower who invented a machine that measures a person’s capacity for love. All are lost. All are searching to fit in.

10. In ninth grade, I ordered a t-shirt with the kanji for gaijin on it. I wore that shirt proudly even though no one at my school in West Tennessee understood what it meant. Looking back, I think I was so drawn to Japanese comic books and cartoons because it was a way to embrace my otherness as a nerdy, awkward white boy. READ MORE >

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November 14th, 2013 / 11:14 am