Scattered All Over the Earth

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Welcome to the not-too-distant future: Japan, having vanished from the face of the earth, is now remembered as “the land of sushi.” Hiruko, its former citizen and a climate refugee herself, has a job teaching immigrant children in Denmark with her invented language Panska (Pan-Scandinavian): “homemade language. no country to stay in. three countries I experienced. insufficient space in brain. so made new language. homemade language.”

As she searches for anyone who can still speak her mother tongue, Hiruko soon makes new friends. Her troupe travels to France, encountering an umami cooking competition; a dead whale; an ultra-nationalist named Breivik; unrequited love; Kakuzo robots; red herrings; uranium; an Andalusian matador. Episodic and mesmerizing scenes flash vividly along, and soon they’re all next off to Stockholm.

With its intrepid band of companions, Scattered All Over the Earth might remind you Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or a surreal Wind in the Willows. The first novel of an exciting new trilogy by Yoko Tawada.

256 pages. Paperback. 

About the Author

Yoko Tawada was born in Tokyo in 1960, moved to Hamburg when she was twenty-two, and then to Berlin in 2006. She writes in both Japanese and German and has received the Akutagawa, Lessing, Kleist, Noma, Adelbert von Chamisso and Tanizaki prizes as well as the Goethe Medal. She is the author of The Last Children of Tokyo and in 2018 her novel The Emissary won the National Book Award.

Margaret Mitsutani is a translator of Yoko Tawada (sharing her National Book Award) and Kenzaburo Oe (Japan's 1994 Nobel Prize laureate).