Having recently finished a new novel, I have good reason to update my webpage!
My newest novel, KANAZAWA, is set in Japan – more specifically, in the city of Kanazawa (where I live), with chapters taking place in Kaga Onsen, Shiramine, and on Hakusan (Japan’s second-most sacred mountain). KANAZAWA, if published, will be the first English-language novel set in Kanazawa.
The following is a short summary of the novel:
In Kanazawa, Japan, 36-year-old Emmitt’s future plans collapse when his wife, Mirai, backs out of negotiations for a house in which they can live independently from her parents and start a family.
After quitting a stable but unsatisfying job, his search for a more meaningful existence steers him to help his mother-in-law’s literary club translate Kanazawa’s most famous author, Izumi Kyoka, into English.
Compounding this period of upheaval, Mirai pressures him to move to Tokyo where she has friends, a younger sister, an offer to teach at a well-known ikebana school, and unrealized ambitions.
While resisting her efforts and trying to find a way forward in his life, he becomes drawn into the mysterious death thirty years ago of a mutual friend of his parents-in-law.
It is only when he and his father-in-law climb the mountain where the man died that he learns the shocking truth about the relationship the three of them had as sculptor, model, and painter, and finds a way to bring his wife back into the fold of their dreamed-of life.
My novel, I hope, is told in the tradition of both the best expatriate fiction and Japanese fiction in translation. I’m readying it now to submit to agents, which is a long and nerve-wracking process.
Hopefully I’ll have more to add to my webpage soon. In the meantime, I’ll include below some photos of Hakusan, which I climbed in 2017 with a few friends. Perhaps later I’ll upload photos of other places I’ve visited that also appear in KANAZAWA.
This is me near the top of Hakusan in late September 2017, probably around four hours after setting out from the base station at Bettodeai. Our group was fortunate with the weather that day, as rain usually falls at some point during one’s climb.
Incidentally, in KANAZAWA this is where the protagonist, Emmitt, searches for his father-in-law after the latter disappears from a sumo festival in a nearby mountain town.
This was taken at sunrise after spending the night at the lodge below this shrine. As I wrote in my novel, the goddess Shirayama-hime is believed to be enshrined here along with Izanami and Izanagi – the original spirit-gods of Japan, of the Japanese people, and, according to Shinto doctrine, of heaven and the universe itself.
In my novel, Emmitt’s father-in-law hopes to pray at this shrine to the soul of a friend who died on Hakusan thirty years ago.
The sun rising over Hakusan. I’ve heard it said that on a clear day one can actually see Mt. Fuji in the far distance. If I remember correctly, it was 2°C at the summit that morning, and the wind was incredibly strong. The elevation here is 2702 m (8865 ft).
In my novel, this is where Emmitt and his father-in-law see what the latter thinks is a yama-uba on a distant slope. (Yama-uba is an old Noh play in which a mountain crone – a yama-uba – is forever wandering the mountains, her transmigration incomplete, contemplating Buddha’s Law.)