Tonight is the opening night. There are birds perched everywhere, on the power lines, the guy ropes, the strings of light that festoon the tent … when I think of all those little bodies suspended between earth and sky, it makes me smile to remind myself that for some of them, their first flight begins with a fall.
Nathalie arrives at the circus in Vladivostok, Russia, fresh out of fashion school in Geneva. She is there to design the costumes for a trio of artists who are due to perform one of the most dangerous acts of all – the Russian Bar.
As winter approaches, the season at Vladivostok is winding down, leaving the windy port city empty as the performers rush off to catch trains, boats, and buses home; all except the Russian bar trio and their manager. They are scheduled to perform at a festival in Ulan Ude, just before Christmas.
What ensues is an intimate and beguiling account of four people learning to work with and trust one another. This is a book about the delicate balance that must be achieved when flirting with death in such spectacular fashion, set against the backdrop of a cloudy ocean and immersing the reader in Dusapin’s trademark dreamlike prose.
Praise for The Pachinko Parlour–
‘Dusapin explores the blurrier borders of language … the novel is a slow, meditative portrait of one woman finding herself, as well as a moving reflection on language’s capacity to divide us from others – and ourselves … while Dusapin’s prose is spare, it is not minimal at all. Her descriptions are lovely and moody, often bouncing obliquely off Claire’s inner state … Of course, much of the pleasure of reading … in English comes from Higgins’s delicate translation. It’s a formidable challenge to translate a novel that deals so centrally with language, and Higgins manages to call the reader’s attention to both the beauty of the writing and the linguistic and cultural switching that demands so much of Claire’s energy.’
-Lily Meyer, The New York Times
‘A book full of delicacy and melancholy … sprinkled with meticulous touches.’
Praise for Winter in Sokcho–
‘Enigmatic, beguiling … This finely crafted debut explores topics of identity and heredity in compelling fashion. In its aimless, outsider protagonist there are echoes of Sayaka Murata’s Convenience Store Woman.’
-Sarah Gilmartin, Irish Times