For the first time in English, Osamu Dazai’s hilariously comic and deeply moving prequel to No Longer Human
"What I despise about Dazai is that he exposes precisely those things in myself that I most want to hide."— Yukio Mishima
The Flowers of Buffoonery opens in a seaside sanitarium where Yozo Oba—the narrator of No Longer Human at a younger age—is being kept after a failed suicide attempt. While he is convalescing, his friends and family visit him, and other patients and nurses drift in and out of his room. Against this dispiriting backdrop, everyone tries to maintain a lighthearted, even clownish atmosphere: playing cards, smoking cigarettes, vying for attention, cracking jokes, and trying to make each other laugh.
While No Longer Human delves into the darkest corners of human consciousness, The Flowers of Buffoonery pokes fun at these same emotions: the follies and hardships of youth, of love, and of self-hatred and depression. A glimpse into the lives of a group of outsiders in prewar Japan, The Flowers of Buffoonery is a darkly humorous and fresh addition to Osamu Dazai’s masterful and intoxicating oeuvre.
We recommend that guests wear masks on the night.
Sam Bett is a fiction writer and Japanese translator. His translation of Yukio Mishima’s Star won the 2019–2020 Japan–U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature.
Allison Markin Powell is a literary translator, editor, and publishing consultant. New Directions will publish her co-translation with Lisa Hofmann-Kuroda of Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa in June of 2023. She maintains the database japaneseliteratureinenglish.com.
In order to keep our events program running in uncertain times, we're asking attendees to hold their place with a $5 voucher, redeemable on the night of the event on any product in store or in our bar & café. You can alternatively reserve a spot by pre-purchasing the event book. If you have a change of heart or plans, write to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll gladly refund you and release your spot, up to 24 hours before the event. Thanks for understanding, and for supporting your local bookstore.