February 28 - March 1, 2010
Rieko Matsuura -Author of "The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P"
In person with Translator Michael Emmerich
3:00 – 5:00 PM Sunday, February 28
Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House
605 1/2 South Main, Seattle
Venue Capacity: 50
3:30 – 5:00 PM Monday, March 1
Panel Discussion/Q & A
Walker-Ames Room (Kane Hall #225)
University of Washington
Venue Capacity: 125
Free Admission - No reservation needed. (doors will be closed upon reaching maximum capacity )
Door Prize – 3 signed books per each event!
The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P
Every decade or so a novel appears that leaves its mark on an entire generation. For Japan in the 1990s, that novel was Rieko Matsuura's The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P. An astonishing, gripping read, this now legendary book was both a critical success and an instant sensation that flew off the shelves. Selling more than 300,000 copies in hardcover, it rocketed its cult author to stardom almost overnight.
The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P tells the story of Kazumi Mano, a naïve twenty-two-year-old who wakes up one afternoon to discover that her big toe has turned into a penis. Her life as an ordinary girl is over, and a rigorous “apprenticeship” has begun. Kazumi flees her homophobic fiancé after he tries to castrate her, and hooks up with a blind pianist with whom she falls in love. Together they join a troupe of sexually deformed and emotionally twisted men and women who tour the country performing what amounts to sexual freak shows. In the course of her bizarre journey, Kazumi is forced to reconsider what she had always passively accepted: her body, her sexuality, and her life.
By turns provocative, intelligent, humorous, heartbreaking, and grotesque, The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P is like no other novel you will read. Matsuura is a master of sensual slipstream, and this work is her chef d’oeuvre.
“Rieko Matsuura delivers a "Metamorphosis" for the age of pornography, a novel that,
although not shocking, destabilizes our view of "normal" society and relationships.”
The Japan Times (http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fb20091025a2.html)
About the Author
Rieko Matsuura was born in Matsuyama, Japan, in 1958, and graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University with a BA in French literature. She debuted as a writer in 1978, while still in college, with The Day of the Funeral, a short story that won that year's Bungakukai Prize for New Writers. Since then, she has published six works of fiction and three essay collections—among them Natural Woman (1987), a series of three related novellas exploring lesbian love; The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P (1993), a bestseller that won the Women's Literature Prize, Japan's most prestigious literary award for women writers; and A Dog's Body (2007), about the intimate but nonsexual relationship between a woman with “species identity disorder” who turns into a dog, and her friend-turned-owner.
The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P is Matsuura's first novel translated into English.
This program is co-sponsored by: The Japan Foundation; Consulate-General of Japan in Seattle; Kinokunoya Book Store; Japan Studies Program at the University of Washington; and Panama Hotel Tea & Coffee House
The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P (Hardcover) is now available at selected local book stores.
By Rieko Matsuura/Michael Emmerich
Published by Kodansha International (JPN)