Book cover for The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

The Emissary

by Yoko Tawada



“That word is also dead.”

If I hadn’t read the back of the book I suspect I would have twigged that this author had a thing for language. A published author in both Japanese and German, Yoko Tawada excels at dreamy sequences interspersed with lucid discussions of the words we use how they make us feel.

The Emissary is a short novel set in a future where Japan has isolated itself from the world as a result of an unnamed catastrophe. Only the elderly, the octogenarians and older, are healthy. Their younger friends and family are poisoned by the land and unable to imagine a future for themselves.

This book was better-conceived than “Scattered All Over the Earth,” it’s loopy, shifty ending will linger for a while.