Three Streets by Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani / ISBN 9780811229302 / 72-page hardback from New Directions, published 2022
Yoko Tawada―winner of the National Book Award―presents three terrific new ghost stories, each named after a street in Berlin
The always astonishing Yoko Tawada here takes a walk on the supernatural side of the street. In "Kollwitzstrasse," as the narrator muses on former East Berlin's new bourgeois health food stores, so popular with wealthy young people, a ghost boy begs her to buy him the old-fashioned sweets he craves. She worries that sugar's still sugar―but why lecture him, since he's already dead? Then white feathers fall from her head and she seems to be turning into a crane . . . Pure white kittens and a great Russian poet haunt "Majakowskiring": the narrator who reveres Mayakovsky's work is delighted to meet his ghost. And finally, in "Pushkin Allee," a huge Soviet-era memorial of soldiers comes to life―and, "for a scene of carnage everything was awfully well-ordered." Each of these stories opens up into new dimensions the work of this magisterial writer.