I am proud to announce that the first three titles of Shueisha English Edition are for sale as e-books. This is Call Boy‘s first appearance in the English Language, The Stationmaster and Summer, Fireworks, My Corpse were originally published in English by VIZ Media. I’m an editor with Shueisha English Edition, and I hope you’ll check them out.
Call Boy, by Ira Ishida (US $5.65, including 5% discount)
In contemporary Tokyo, youths are lost. The future doesn’ t seem bright, and life is boring. Ryo is an almost dropout college student, who spends most of his time alone or at a small bar tending it nightly. But his life will change drastically when a beautiful middle-aged lady appears at its door. She invites him to the shadow world of male prostitution for women of all ages. When he’ s assigned to the demanding task of satisfying every kind of client, he finds the meaning of life for the very first time. His quest begins: to explore and understand the mysterious and strange world of female desires. All he has to do is to give, giving his heart, mind, and body. And his clients have problems, too. Their desires cannot be fulfilled by ordinary means. So he becomes a Call Boy.
The Stationmaster, by Jiro Asada (US $4.70, including 5% discount)
The Stationmaster examines the lives of the downtrodden, finding redemption in the strangest places. Extremely popular in Japan, this short story collection is about marginalized people: the stationmaster of an obsolete train station; petty criminals; a clothing salesman; a dying sex worker. According to Margaret Atwood’ s introduction, Jiro Asada’ s combination of “daily time in all its humble and often harsh detail with the hidden, haunted psyche- how people see themselves from the outside, contrasted with their knowledge of their own wounded inner selves- is a potent achievement.” Often a ghost or other supernatural element comes in to help right previous wrongs, allowing these characters to find some semblance of peace.
Summer, Fireworks, My Corpse, by Otsuichi (US$ 2.95)
Nine year old Satsuki dies after being pushed out of a tree by one of her friends. This is the story she tells of how it happened, and the lengths her friends go to in order to try and cover it up, not wanting to upset anyone. But she is soon missed, and her lost sandal provides a clue. The writing is both lyrical and stark, and the effect veers from horrifying to absurd as the people closest to her simultaneously search for her body, and try to hide it. Days pass and her body starts to decompose, while her ghost calmly narrates, and her panicked friends struggle to keep their secret.That is the very first short story by a young author, Otsuichi, who wrote it when he was just sixteen, and won an award to be published by Shueisha.The collection also includes “Yuko”, the story of a young woman who takes a job looking after an elderly couple. Kiyone enjoys her work, but is unnerved because she never meets Yuko, the wife. Yuko’s husband pretends that she is still around, while requesting half of their previous portions of food. He never allows Kiyone to clean the bedroom he shares with Yuko. And when she finally trespasses into their room, it is filled with dolls.