Author: Hiroshi Noma,James Raeside
Publisher: Univ of Michigan Center for
Category: Literary Criticism
The short stories that Noma Hiroshi produced in the years of confusion & self-questioning after World War II struck a deep response in his readers. In the three stories contained here--"Dark Pictures," "A Feeling of Disintegration," & "A Red Moon in Her Face"--the main characters are all young men who have lived through the war but have emerged far from unscathed. The "dark pictures" of the title refer to paintings & engravings by Brueghel, which the protagonist & his friends had viewed together. The miseries depicted in Brueghel's work seem in retrospect to encapsulate all the miseries the main character has suffered since seeing his friends: persecution, self-doubt, sexual anxiety, warfare, imprisonment, bombardment, & the miseries of life in Japan after the defeat. The other two stories are set in the postwar world of black marketeers & bombsites, but they too concern young men whose universal anxieties about sexual desires & their place in the world are overshadowed by memories of the brutality of war.