Ekuni’s exquisite taste can be perceived if you read this piece. In 2001, this story was used in National Center Test for University Admissions in Japan. It is famous that there were lots of students, reading this story whole through, who came to cry during the exam. I remembered my elder sister said, after finishing the exam, “the story is so much impressive that I was into it.
Her novels have a sort of strange taste. In Holy Garden, Someday it will be spilled from my remembrance and the rest, we feel after reading that a story is suddenly stopped. It is interesting that she offers to us a part of someone’s life she intended to cut ‘from here to here’ as if it was a readymade. The beginning and the end of the story are left crude like a fraying cord. But instead, the most tasteful parts of the story are composed of her elaborate descriptions. Readers must be intoxicated and arrived at the ending without notice.
In contrast, ‘Duke’ is more arranged as for its plot, but it is true to find her talent everywhere. ‘A Picture Book for adults’ is an appropriate phrase to it. What we feel while reading is like a sense as if we had a dog called Duke and someone wrote a book on him for us. Each of the stories by Ekuni certainly have an influence of solace. Reading ‘Duke’, we can conceive something in us comes to be cured. This is a story like what a mother tales to their children at the bed. A sense of safety as long as being in this story relates to our honest feelings that we want to read it again.
Another distinctive feature of Ekuni’s works is a distance between two. In ‘Duke’, a woman and a boy don’t refer to their own circumstances or sentiments at all as the story goes monotonously. Until the end — I dare say even after the end — ambiguous are how she actually felt him and why she wanted to be with him. Instead, she remarks her comfort in the pool or taste of an ice cream. Ekuni scrupulously describes that the woman gradually recovers from despair by a sense of freshness which something unrelated to what the boy produces. She is getting used to her life without Duke as she finds a lot of wonderfulness except for him, walking around with him who appeared as a human boy. This situation is one of the causes which also dramatises sadness in this story.
It is true that there are lots of complicated and splendid literary works in the world. But a story like this which is simple and profoundly impressive should not be ignorant. If you haven’t read it, please read it as soon as you can.