The great Japanese writer Yoko Ogawa will talk to translator and Japanologist Luk Van Haute about The Memory Police, a Kafkaesque and Orwellian novel about loss, the importance of collective memory, and repression.
The Japanese Yoko Ogawa (b. Okayama, 1962) has won every major Japanese prize with her books. She also created a stir in Belgium with the unusual bestseller The Housekeeper and the Professor and the collection of short stories The Diving Pool. She had a breakthrough in the English-speaking world with her novel The Memory Police, which was shortlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Fiction last year and shortlisted for the International Booker Prize this year.
On an island, more and more objects begin to disappear mysteriously: hats, birds, books, roses and more. Eventually, the disappearances take on serious proportions. The streets become a little emptier every day, and the inhabitants start suffering from large memory gaps. The few who can still recall things begin to fear for their lives.
Totalitarianism and loss
The Memory Police is about totalitarianism, silent resistance and what still makes us human when more and more of what we know is disappearing. The conversation between Ogawa and her Dutch translator – the connoisseur of Japanese culture and literature Luk Van Haute – fits in perfectly with our series on loss.
Passa Porta, Ancienne Belgique, Uitgeverij Cossee, Pelckmans uitgevers