“She didn’t seem to talk to me but to God through me, and her voice was strangely clear, like heavenly music. The words sin, sin, sin, which had formed a structure as high as the Eiffel Tower, and everything I had found in her diary the night before – it was all falling down around her. I heard the rumbling sounds quite definitely. The weight of the many-storied buildings of sins which had lasted for thirteen years was now crushing my worn-out mother and carrying her away.”
Sin, solitude, betrayal, deceit and a love triangle are accounted through three letters written by the wife, the mistress, and the mistress’s daughter. The three missives form the main part of this hauntingly poignant novella and tell us of marriage, relationships, love in its many forms, the consequences of an illicit love affair, and above all, the desire to be understood!
“We humans are, in the end, stupid creatures who cannot help desiring that someone knows us as we are.”
The Hunting Gun is one of the two outstanding debut works that launched Inoue’s career in 1949 as a major literary figure. He would go on and wrote 50 novels and more than 150 short stories. His other debut, Bullfight, also published in 1949, won the Akutagawa Prize in 1950.
The Hunting Gun is a short yet elegant novella.
Translated by Sadamichi Yokoo and Sanford Goldstein
T. Hoang Dec. 2019