Today I am closing the blog tour for Fukushima Dreams by Zelda Rhiando, each stop offers different content so if you missed them please check them out.
About the book
Fukishima Dreams by Zelda Rhiando
* Paperback: 224 pages
* Publisher: Unbound Digital (19 Dec. 2017)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1911586882
* ISBN-13: 978-1911586883
BLURB Sachiko and her husband Harry live in a village on the North-east coast of Japan. They are both struggling to adapt to life as new parents to their infant son Tashi. In the aftermath of the tsunami, Sachiko wakes alone. Her family is missing. She begins a desperate search until radiation fallout from the Fukushima power plant forces her to leave the area. She moves to Tokyo, and a different life. Harry has fled to a refuge on an isolated mountain, abandoning his family. He lives there, haunted by guilt and hovering on the edge of sanity. Will they find each other and confront the question of their missing son?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Zelda Rhiando was born in Dublin and read English Literature at Cambridge. She lives in South London with her husband, two daughters and four cats, and is one of the founders of the Brixton BookJam. She is the author of two novels, Caposcripti and Fukushima Dreams.
Website: http://www.badzelda.com/ Twitter : @badzelda
I have a wee extract, enjoy
For a long time – she didn’t know how long – there had been nothing. A kind of dream-nothing that she floated in; a mist that some- times receded and showed the edges of the world. But still, she was not in the world. She made what brief contact was required, and then she was back in the nothing place.
The nothing place needs no thought: it is an eternal now. Balanced between past and future, here there is no colour. No sound. It’s like being wrapped in cotton wool, except there is no sensation of soft- ness. It is neither comforting, nor terrifying. She doesn’t know how long she’s been here. It has been a long time.
Somewhere out there is life – but she has been here for so long it seems that she doesn’t remember the other place, the route back. It is lost in the mists sometime. That’s the place where her body is, but she doesn’t need it any more. It’s fine here.
She doesn’t think, and she doesn’t know. But she dreams.
The dreams are tiny moments; pearls on a wire. She cannot tell if they are memories or constructions. Fragments from her childhood: the joy of a sketch perfectly executed; opening her lunchbox to find her favourite kind of plum; smiling up at eyes that were smiling down; lighting the New Year candles. Were these moments in her life that she’s returning to?
There are other dreams, other memories.
Is that her signing the marriage register? Crying with the pain of labour? Holding that pillow, sick with the knowledge of what came next? She learns to tell when they are coming and dives back into the mist. They’re part of him, of them, of those two men in her life that she’s in flight from. Her husband. Her son.
She likes it best when there is nothing, when she is floating bodiless in a void of her own making, a place where there are no demands on her time, or on her emotions. She is swimming in an endless sea. She can be free there.
One minute she was there in the mist – and the next everything was collapsing around her. The world was shaking. From inside cup- boards dusty boxes that hadn’t seen the light of day for months came crashing down – their contents striking her, pulling her back into the world. She pulled the covers over her head to protect herself, and lay on the bed, curled up. Slowly she let her ears pick out sounds from the general chaos. Outside the apartment block she could hear, hardly muffled, a colossal grinding and rumbling, and beneath it, the sound of human screams. Earthquake! Sirens wailed a warning, ‘Get out! Get out! Get out!’
She ran into the other room. Here too everything was in disorder, all of the small elements of life tossed around as though by a giant child in a tantrum. The child! He wasn’t there. And where was Harry? Had he gone running again? The baby-sling swung crazily on its hook, near the empty bouncer. She turned to the door.
And that was when everything collapsed. She was engulfed in cold black water. She was blind and breathless. She was barely aware of objects hitting her as she clawed for air – no sense of up or down. And then everything was dark and she knew no more.
It wasn’t that strange, someone running. Everyone was running, screaming, crouching on the ground, with arms held over their heads. The warning siren wailed and aftershocks still rocked the earth. I didn’t trust myself to keep my feet, but I had to get away.
In the distance, faster than seemed possible, a black wall of water was creeping up the streets of Taro. Boats and bits of wood floated on its crest and splintered buildings screamed in protest as it passed. I had a head start – I could outrun it. This would be my only chance to save myself – to actually save my life. I lengthened my stride, feeling the pleasurable burn of warming muscles.
Soon I had run right out of town, following the road that wound up through the mountains. I was heading inland, to the forested areas where nature was left to go her own way, and casual visitors were rare.
I stopped to catch my breath. I was used to running. That had been a constant in my life – when everything went wrong, I could go running, and rejoice in the physical control I had over my body: the speed, the freedom. I knew I could get a long way if I could only pace myself.
What had happened back there? Living in Japan I had grown used to tremors, and the constant grumblings of the continental plates. But this was different – this was really big – as big as the Hanshin quake of ’95 at least. The giant waves that had destroyed the town had surely caused more far-reaching destruction. All change again! With a quake of that magnitude, there would be strong aftershocks for days. If there was going to be any more of that, I wanted to be on higher ground.
The earthquake hadn’t been part of my plans – but, having made the decision to leave, it had provided the perfect cover.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I had decided to abandon her on a grey afternoon in March. I considered telling her, making one last attempt to fix things. But when I went into our bedroom she lay with her face to the wall, as she had for weeks. Her eyes were closed. I waited a long moment before starting to pack.
I had been stockpiling foodstuffs, warm clothes and bedding for weeks already, in a little shack that I had stumbled across on one of my regular runs, but at this time of year the cold would be the biggest issue. I pulled on a warm parka and waterproof trousers and threw my notebooks, pens and a few snacks into a small satchel, and turned to look at her one last time. There was no sign that she was aware of the world at all.
Then, beneath my feet, the floor had begun to shake. I fell. I remember striking my head. All around me plates were falling from shelves and smashing; pictures flew from the walls. I wanted to get out, but I couldn’t stay on my feet. I grabbed whatever handholds I could find, and made it out onto the street.
There had been screaming and a loud grinding, rumbling noise, then a deafening roar that sounded like a thousand airplanes. Earth- quake? I didn’t immediately make the connection, but then it clicked. We were near the sea. Tsunami.
For several long moments I considered going back into the house, to try to stir my wife. But it was too late. She would not respond. I could not get through. Sirens began to wail, sounding the warning. It was 3.51pm. I turned my face inland and started running in earnest.
Before long I found myself in the forest, with a quiet hiking track stretched out before me. It was very quiet, and glancing at my watch I saw it was only 4.30pm. It hadn’t taken me long to leave the chaos behind.
I looked back down the path I had taken, a path that had started behind the cemetery at the edge of town. It was a regular run – I knew where it went – soon it would join up with the hiking trails of the local nature preserve, a place I had escaped to regularly since we had moved north. The land rose sharply from the coast, and was heavily forested. Further inland, where the crags were highest, the restricted zone started, and just inside this zone I had discovered an abandoned shack some months before.
In that small, dilapidated retreat in the woods I could think straight, away from the life that had become intolerable to me. So far I had rarely stayed overnight; guilt had always dragged me back to family life, to her and the child; but the peace had come to seem more and more seductive. Bringing cans and noodles and other imperishable foodstuffs had come to seem like insurance for the future, for the moment I chose to disappear. I had squirrelled away several caches in case one or more of them were discovered. I had always been planning on leaving, but it was a question of when.
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