An ordinary housewife finds herself haunted by visions of a mushroom cloud and abruptly leaves her husband and son to travel alone to the city of Nagasaki, where she soon begins an affair with a young half-Russian, half-Japanese man.
Inspired by Marguerite Duras’s screenplay for “Hiroshima, Mon Amour,” this novel is a further demonstration of Kashimada’s distinctive literary style and technique and her commitment to plumbing the depths of her characters’ psychology. Dealing with the travails and traumas of history, with gendered identity, with the tension between private and public selves, Love at Six Thousand Degrees is a distinctive and intriguing novel by one of Japan’s most unique contemporary authors.
Maki Kashimada’s first novel Two won the 1998 Bungei Prize. Since then, she has established herself as a writer of literary fiction and become known for her avant-garde style. In 2005 she received the Mishima Yukio Prize for Love at 6,000 Degrees Celsius, a novel set in Nagasaki and based on Hiroshima mon amour by Marguerite Duras, and in 2007 she took the Noma Prize for New Writers for Picardy Third. She was nominated three times for the Akutagawa Prize before ultimately garnering the award in 2012 with Touring the Land of the Dead. One of her best-known works is The Kingdom of Zero (2009), which reworks Dostoevsky's The Idiot into the tale of a saintly idiot in Japan. She has been a follower of the Japanese Orthodox Church since high school and was married to a member of its clergy.