[10] Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

Book Cover: [10] Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada

BOOK: Scattered All Over the Earth
AUTHOR: Yoko Tawada
YEAR: 2022
PUBLISHER: New Directions Publishing

Japan is no longer. From now on it shall be remembered as 'the land of sushi'.

What happens when climate change disappears an entire country, erases it from the map? What befalls its citizens, its culture, its history, its language? These are just some of the questions brought up in the tenth book in the LAX LAB climate fiction book club: Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada.

This recently translated novel is about a refugee crisis of unprecedented scale that occurs after rising sea levels consume the entirety of Japan. As the island country is 'vanished from the face of the Earth', its citizens are consequently scattered. The novel follows Hiruko, a climate refugee and once citizen of Japan. She now teaches children in Denmark in her invented Pan-Scandinavian language 'Panska'. Hiruko begins searching out those who still speak her mother tongue. Making new friends, she embarks on a series of adventures, travelling to France and Sweden. The novel is a mediation on language and friendship, belonging and identity, and is the first installment of an intriguing trilogy. Compared to Alice in Wonderland and a surreal Wind in the Willows and described as 'mind expanding' and 'cheerfully dystopian', I hope that you enjoy Yoko Tawada’s novel Scattered All Over the Earth.

Community and friendship

'Scattered All Over the Earth — what it means to belong'
Matthew Janney, Financial Times, 1 July 2022

'When Nations Disappear, What Happens to Nationalities?'
Ryan Ruby, New York Times, 1 March 2022

Emma Arnold