Inhabitation - A Novel
Roger K. Thomas
A living lizard nailed to a pillar and a young man bound by a family misfortune––a tale that poses questions about life, death, and karma by one of Japan’s most beloved living writers.
In 1970s Osaka, college student Tetsuyuki moves into a shabby apartment to evade his late father’s creditors. But the apartment’s electricity hasn’t been reconnected yet, and Tetsuyuki spends his first night in darkness. Wanting to hang up a tennis cap from his girlfriend, Yōko, he fumbles about in the dark and drives a nail into a pillar. The next day he discovers that he has pierced the body of a lizard, which is still alive. He decides to keep it alive, giving it food and water and naming it Kin.
Inhabitation unfolds from there, following the complications in Tetsuyuki’s relationship with Yōko, a friendship with his supervisor who hides his heart disease at work, and his father’s creditors, always close on his heels. Daunted, Tetsuyuki speaks to Kin night after night, and Kin’s peculiarly tortured situation reflects the mingled pain, love, and guilt that infuses Tetsuyuki’s human relationships.
For more than four decades, Teru Miyamoto’s gentle prose—which often explores a kind of spiritual isolation—has enthralled Japanese readers. Now, translator Roger K. Thomas brings one of Miyamoto’s most well-loved novels to an English-speaking audience for the first time.
Praise from Booksellers
"Miyamoto’s Inhabitation, appearing for the first time in English thanks to the fine folks at Counterpoint Press, begins simply and strangely: Tetsuyuki, in the pitch black of a new apartment, drives a nail into a pillar, and accidentally pierces through a lizard that miraculously survives. The novel unfolds from there, dealing with themes of love, human relationships, life, and death. Blending the surreal with the mundane, Miyamoto’s novel is sure to appeal to fans of Japanese literature and those who enjoy a fair dose of existential philosophizing in their novels. Strange, bleakly humorous, and at its core deeply human, Inhabitation is an engaging literary novel about the deeper questions in life." —Caleb Masters, Bookmarks (Winston-Salem, NC)