Echo on the Bay
Winner of the Mishima Prize
“Masatsugu Ono’s work vibrates with the sounds of voices whose meaning has yet to be discovered.” —Yoko Tawada, author of The Emissary
“An intimate, dark, and poetic portrait of a Japan that isn’t part of mainstream society . . . This powerful and lyrical novel should be read by everyone.” —Xiaolu Guo, National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China
All societies, whether big or small, try to hide their wounds away. In this, his Mishima Prize-winning masterpiece, Masatsugu Ono considers a fishing village on the Japanese coast. Here a new police chief plays audience for the locals, who routinely approach him with bottles of liquor and stories to tell. As the city council election approaches, and as tongues are loosened by drink, evidence of rampant corruption piles up—and a long-held feud between the village’s captains of industry, two brothers-in-law, threatens to boil over.
Meanwhile, just out of frame, the chief’s teenage daughter is listening, slowly piecing the locals’ accounts together, reading into their words and poring over the silence they leave behind. As accounts of horrific violence—including a dangerous attempt to save some indentured Korean coal mine workers from the Japanese military police and the fate of a group of Chinese refugees—steadily come into focus, she sets out for the Bay, where the tide has recently turned red and an ominous boat from the past has suddenly reappeared.
Populated by an infectious cast of characters that includes a solemn drunk with a burden to bear; a scarred woman constantly tormented by the local kids’ fireworks; a lone communist; and the “Silica Four,” a group of out-of-work men who love to gossip—Echo on the Bay is a quiet, masterful epic in village miniature. Proof again that there are no small stories—and that History’s untreated wounds, no matter how well hidden, fester, always threatening to resurface.
“An intimate, dark, and poetic portrait of a Japan that isn’t part of mainstream society, Ono demands we look carefully at how people living in a small fishing village are affected by global events. Like an anthropologist, Masatsugu Ono demonstrates his encyclopedic knowledge of a world he loves and cares for. This powerful and lyrical novel should be read by everyone.” —Xiaolu Guo, National Book Critics Circle award-winning author of Nine Continents: A Memoir In and Out of China
Praise for Masatsugu Ono and Lion Cross Point:
“…Ono, who won the Akutagawa Prize, Japan’s most prestigious award for emerging fiction writers, is so skilled at conveying emotion that Takeru and his world are mesmerizing, and often heart-rending.” — The New Yorker
“A mesmeric fusion of fable, ghost story and haunting depiction of family trauma. . . . It’s the shifting relationship between Takeru’s shameful memories of what transpired and his gradual adjustment to the kindhearted people and landscapes of his mysterious new surroundings that makes the novel both unsettling and quietly moving.” — San Francisco Chronicle
“Lion Cross Point is a MASTERPIECE. Just finished it. It is too beautiful; hard to imagine that much depth of emotion is possible in 120 pages.” ― Sara Balabanlilar, Brazos Bookstore
“Ono uses minimalist language and metaphor to create a gentle yet powerful rendering of the inner turmoil of a boy struggling to comprehend acts of kindness and violence.” ― Publishers Weekly
“Masatsugu Ono’s Lion Cross Point pulls off a number of narrative elements that I admire in fiction. . . . A moving and (literally) haunting novel.” ― Tobias Carroll, Literary Hub
“This is a book of the first order. A haunting mystery, it is about parents and children, about war and peace. Surely this book means that Masatsugu Ono belongs in the first ranks of not just Japanese literature but world literature.” — Akhil Sharma, author of Family Life
“Masatsugu Ono’s lucid, spare novel explores the question: What is finally more mysterious than family? It is not the unraveling of a mystery, but the tangible evocation of mystery itself as it rises from anecdotes and intuitions, from the layering of the innuendos of memory with the overtones and undertones of dream and seascape, that distinguishes this hauntingly written and beautifully translated book.” — Stuart Dybek, author of The Coast of Chicago
“Masatsugu Ono’s work vibrates with the sounds of voices whose meaning has yet to be discovered. In Lion Cross Point, even those who have been deprived of their voice find their place among us.” — Yoko Tawada, author of Memoirs of a Polar Bear
“Masatsugu Ono, one of the most important Japanese novelists of the post-Murakami generation, has created a lyrical, psychologically astute novel that will only whet international appetites for more of his work.” — Jeffrey Angles, 2017 Yomiuri Prize recipient