Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse

About the book:

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.

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.

This is a little girl’s account of her life after death, and our unique version of The Lovely Bones. It defies the conventional definition of genres. A ghost story, yes, and YA, too. Dark fantasy with humor. Literary fiction with prepubescent innocence and manga sensibilities. It is many things but a simple story, too. You’ll be fascinated with the unique world of Otsuichi, a very young and prolific author, in his first published work.

The e-book contains:

  • Introduction by Christopher Barzak
  • Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse
  • Yuko
  • Glossary

Translated by Nathan Collins

Excerpt:

I lost my balance and slipped from the branch. I saw the leaves rise up around me in slow motion. As I fell I snapped through branches I’d climbed up only moments before and I kept falling. I came down hard on one branch and heard the sound of myself snapping. My body twisted into a wrong shape, and I let out a scream that didn’t make it past my throat. And still I fell. In midair, I was sad to see that one of my favorite sandals had come off.

And then, as my back struck the rock at the base of the tree, the one we’d been using as a step stool, I died.