Hit Parade of Tears: Stories (Verso Fiction) (Paperback)
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A new collection of stories from the cult author of Terminal Boredom
Izumi Suzuki had ideas about doing things differently, ideas that paid little attention to the laws of physics, or the laws of the land. In this new collection, her skewed imagination distorts and enhances some of the classic concepts of science fiction and fantasy.
A philandering husband receives a bestial punishment from a wife with her own secrets to keep; a music lover finds herself in a timeline both familiar and as wrong as can be; a misfit band of space pirates discover a mysterious baby among the stars; Emma, the Bovary-like character from one of Suzuki's stories in Terminal Boredom, lands herself in a bizarre romantic pickle.
Wryly anarchic and deeply imaginative, Suzuki was a writer like no other. These eleven stories offer readers the opportunity to delve deeper in this singular writer's work.
About the Author
Izumi Suzuki (1949–1986) was a countercultural icon and a pioneer of Japanese science fiction. She worked as a keypunch operator before finding fame as a model and actress, but it was her writing that secured her reputation. She took her own life at the age of thirty-six.
"This collection showcases [Suzuki's] unique sensibility, which combined a punk aesthetic with a taste for the absurd. Her work-populated by misfits, loners, and femmes fatales alongside extraterrestrial boyfriends, intergalactic animal traffickers, and murderous teen-agers with E.S.P.-wryly blurs the boundary between earthly delinquency and otherworldly phenomena."
—The New Yorker
"The work and messages of Ursula K. Le Guin, the author’s longer-lived contemporary, come to mind. Both Suzuki and Le Guin knew that gender roles are a matter of costume or control, affect or affliction. The terms we use to define humanity are often inhuman"
—Catherine Lacey, New York Times
"Brilliant and often bleak … all shot through with a camp ethos, dark humour and kitchen-sink realism … in their brio and jagged urgency, these stories have, if anything, only gained in their alarming immediacy."
—Times Literary Supplement
"Not only still relevant but remarkably fresh ... All these stories are brilliant"
"With this impressive collection, translators Bett, David Boyd, Helen O'Horan, and Daniel Joseph bring 11 strange, transfixing, and compassionate short stories from Suzuki to English-speaking audiences. SFF fans are sure to be pleased with these slangy, accessible new translations of a master."
"Her punky irreverence remains radiant’"
"These strangely prescient stories are perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami, George Saunders, and Philip K. Dick"
"Extraordinary. To use one of her own coolly illuminating formulations, Suzuki is steward of a new anxiety"
"[A] riveting book of short stories by cult favorite Japanese sci-fi author Izumi Suzuki."
—Sophia June, Most Anticipated Books of 2023, Nylon
"A little speculative, a little punk, a little chaotic-all singular in their voice and vision. In this new collection, there will be cheating husbands, score settling, alternate timelines, bored teens, and space pirates...What a thrill it is to see that more of her stories are coming down the pipes."
—Most Anticipated Books of 2023, Lit Hub
"Even decades after her death, Suzuki's sci-fi fantasy worlds feel fresh. The 11 stories in this deeply unsettling and imaginative collection are sure to enthrall, disturb and entertain...A brilliant follow up."
—15 Upcoming Releases We Can't Wait to Read in 2023, Tokyo Weekender,
"Sure to be wonderfully off-kilter and imaginative."
—Iain Maloney, Japan Times
"This volume is at the top of my TBR list."
—Karla J. Strand, Ms. Magazine
"This collection reaches out from the past not as a warning so much as the musings of a writer grasping for hope in a dark world. Music is woven through the book, as if Suzuki had created an accompanying playlist and is urging readers to listen along...These 11 stories surprise with wry humor and stun with the loneliness of living."
"[Suzuki] has produced stories that delight in weaving the uncanny into everyday experiences. The stories are edgy and comic, taking a sharp, sardonic scalpel to male privilege in Japanese society ... a singular voice in Japanese literature"
—Michael Cronin, Irish Times
"Through stories of murderous aliens, rock-and-roll has-beens and failed witches, Suzuki knows very well that life on Earth sucks, but that doesn’t stop her from constantly imagining and reimagining radical alterities."
—Marv Recinto, ArtReview Asia
"Suzuki creates worlds subtly unstuck from specific times and locations ... The anxiety at the heart of her writing resonates far beyond its temporal walls. Suzuki's science fiction of the 1980s has an eerie accordance with the world as we know it today."
—Genie Harrison, Tokyo Weekender
"Suzuki's work is richly steeped in science fiction, fantasy, and '70s counterculture...throughout [she] empathizes with those who feel alien, other, or ostracized-especially women and girls battling patriarchy and misogyny."
—Laura Zornosa, TIME
"The continuing translation of Suzuki's work is extremely exciting, as it helps to provide a more thorough picture of a dynamic and experimental artist whose work parallels some of the most important work of the 1970s new wave, cyberpunk, and beyond."
—Nell Keep, Booklist, Starred Review
"Sardonic, dystopian commentaries on the struggle to stay sane in a world that often fails to offer encouragement to do so."
—Sean Sheehan, The Prisma
"This new collection brings the same gritty, surreal vibes we love."
"These stories are deeply, persistently, wonderfully odd, full of humor, irony, heartache, and aliens."
—Patrick Rapa, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"Sharp and achingly present, these eleven short stories ... present emotional and often unsettling glimpses into worlds both familiar and fantastical ... Suzuki's voice is boldly abrasive."
—Bella Creel, Asymptote Journal
"Reader, beware: Suzuki's stories are soft, but they are not light."
—Nick Mamatas, The Fabulist
"Blurring together magic, fantasy, and sci-fi, [Suzuki's] stories bend reality to explore themes of marriage, friendship, love, sexuality, and femininity."
"Wild and restless ... I can't think of anyone I'd rather read this spring than this countercultural icon of the Japanese literary underground."
—Angel Lambo, Frieze
"A forerunner of cyberpunk ... With dark humour and cool affect, [Suzuki] presented the isolation of Japanese domestic life."
—Stephanie LaCava, Telegraph
"An enjoyably acidic and darkly funny set of stories in which the novelty is not always so much in the ideas as in the consistently engaging execution. Suzuki's distinctly misanthropic voice enlivens these narratives of women whose mundane lives are altered - sometimes humorously, sometimes catastrophically - by science-fictional or supernatural occurrences."
—Dexter Palmer, The Washington Post
"Translated into English decades after her death, the sci-fi stories of Izumi Suzuki gently twist modern Japan into tales of unspeakable loneliness."
—Amanda DeMarco, Spike Art Magazine
"Impressively uncanny stuff."
—Tobias Carroll, Words Without Borders
"[Hit Parade of Tears] challenges the concepts of fantasy and science fiction, twisting these genres into new and strange things. These tales are bleak, funny, feminist, angry, and often deeply allegorical and political."
—Books & Bao
"Hit Parade of Tears perfectly demonstrates Suzuki's sharp social satire, her singular voice, and her unique aesthetics ... mesmerising feminist explorations of gender, alienation and treacherous states of reality that could not have been written by anyone else"
—Jonathan Thornton, Fantasy Hive
"Suzuki's acidic voice permeates these 11 hazy, imaginative stories following women whose lives are altered by time travel, aliens, magic and more."
—The New York Times Book Review
"A collection of stories that sway between science fiction, fantasy and the intrigue of modern relationships. Expect a wild ride through affairs, space pirates and discoveries of new dimensions."
—Ellen Scott, Stylist
"It's rare for a short story collection to captivate and glue your eyes to the page like a thriller. But Hit Parade of Tears ... does just that, lining up one twisted mindbender after another ... her plots beguile as they come apart and pull together like pieces of a deliberately imperfect puzzle."
—Eric Margolis, Japan Times
"This newly translated collection of Izumi Suzuki's short stories, first published more than forty years ago, is jaunty, odd, violent, femme-centric, funny-but what strikes me most is its freshness.""
—Young Kim, LIBER
"[Hit Parade of Tears] has the could-it-be-prescience that renders good science fiction both captivating and uncanny. At the same time, it often feels so rooted in the '60s and '70s that it could have emerged from a time capsule….its prose is strong and clear, a message from the past that has, thanks to her stellar team of translators, arrived here asking to be heard."
—Lily Meyer, NPR
"Two years ago, Izumi Suzuki's work was published in English for the first time in the collection Terminal Boredom. This second collection gives English language readers even more of her inventive and atmospheric stories that explore life on the outskirts using science fiction and fantasy elements."
—Patricia Thang, Book Riot
"Suzuki's narratives might contain B-movie silliness. They also have the hypnotic power of a bender. Just look at the time - you've suddenly finished them all."
—Jen Vafidis, The New York Times Book Review
"A unique voice in science fiction ... Suzuki's stories represent female rage at a society which refused to include her ... darkly witty"
—Terri-Jane Dow, Mslexia
"Packed with casual, occasional sadism ... Each story is air-locked away from the noisy links between organism and ecosystem, consumer supply chain and perpetual war ... Dreams of estrangement play out across a total lack of world."
—Alex Quicho, The White Review
"[Suzuki's] characters' clever means of dealing with society give life to each story even half a century after their original publication. It is not so much the specifics of the worlds Suzuki creates as the way her characters find relief within them that makes Hit Parade of Tears translate well for a contemporary audience."
—Jenny Wu, The Harvard Review
"[Hit Parade of Tears] speaks to our anxieties and fears about a world, a future, slowly slipping from our grasp"
—Ian Mond, Locus Magazine
"This posthumous collection of stories is absurd, with little to do with the laws of physics: Suzuki takes common sci-fi and fantasy tropes - themselves a skewer on reality - and twists them further so that what you're left with is time- and space-bending plotlines and very strange characters."
"Both humorous and devastating ... [Suzuki's] signature sci-fi style is as moving as it is unpredictable and a must-read by anyone interested in the emotional politics of our potential future(s)."
—Jennifer Brough, Lucy Writers Platform