Lament in the Night

Item # 151364.

Written by Shoson Nagahara. Translated by Andrew Leong.

Lament in the Night collects two remarkable novellas by the author Shoson Nagahara, translated from the Japanese for the first time, 87 years after the stories first appeared in The Rafu Shimpo.

The title novella, originally published in 1925, follows itinerant day laborer Ishikawa Sakuzo as he prowls the back alleys and bathhouses of Los Angeles, looking for a meal, a job or just someone to hold onto.

The second novella follows a young mother working her way through bars and nightclubs after being abandoned by her gambling-addicted husband. Written in a deadpan tone that is both evocative and precise, this dazzling exercise in 1920s naturalist noir promises to become a classic of American literature.

Along with Nagahara’s writing, the book features dozens of archival photographs documenting Little Tokyo of the 1920s; an introduction by Los Angeles Times Book Critic David Ulin placing Nagahara’s work in the context of Los Angeles’ literary history; an afterword by translator Andrew Leong narrating his international search for Nagahara himself; plus other historical artifacts and articles about Nagahara’s work.

Lament in the Night is a bristling time capsule taking the reader back to the streets of 1920s Little Tokyo and reminding us how little the human condition has changed.

Paper: 456 pp.

Read about how Lament in the Night came to be translated & published on Discover Nikkei.

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