Although Akira Yoshimura is one of Japan's most prolific and celebrated authors, his work is little known outside of his native country.Shipwrecks, one of the first of his 20 novels to be translated into English, tells the tale of Isaku, a 9-year-old boy who is forced to scrounge to provide for his desperately poor family. For the people of the medieval Japanese village in which Isaku lives, the only relief from near starvation comes in the guise of the shipwrecks of the title. To lure merchant ships off course, the villagers light huge bonfires. But even their success turns to disaster when the wreckage of one such ship includes not only rice, but smallpox.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This book is short, to the point, and an excellent read! It concerns people who eke out a barely adequate living in a tiny village on a small rocky coast in medieval Japan. The people work very hard just to survive, but they depend on the occasional shipwreck (which they help cause) to supplement their own food supplies. We read in fascination and horror how the shipwrecks are caused, and the total lack of remorse shown by the villagers, even the youngest among them, one of … more