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The Navidad Incident

The Downfall of Matías Guili

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


In this sweeping magical-realist epic set in the fictional south sea island Republic of Navidad, Ikezawa gives his imagination free rein to reinvent the myths of the twentieth century Japan. The story takes off as a delegation of Japanese war veterans pays an official visit to the ex-World War II colony, only to see the Japanese flag burst into flames. The following day, the tour bus, and its passengers, simply vanish. The locals exchanges absurd rumors—the bus was last seen attending Catholic mass, the bus must have skipped across the lagoon—but the president suspects a covert guerrilla organization is trying to undermine his connections with Japan. Can the real answers to the mystery be found, or will the president have to be content with the surreal answers?

“Breezy and fun, yet tranquil and mysterious… like a Japanese meeting of Kapuscinski’s The Emperor and a surrealist A House for Mr Biswas. An entire world.”

    --Ben Loory, author of Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day

About the author:
Natsuki Ikezawa (1945– ) was born in Hokkaido. Formerly enrolled at Saitama University, he quit school to become a poet. He lived in Greece for three years in the mid-1970s. Presently he writes not only fiction but criticism and is an active public speaker as well. Of his works, Still Lives and A Burden of Flowers are available in English, and The Navidad Incident—winner of the Tanizaki Jun’ichiro Prize—in German.

About Haikasoru:
With a small, elite list of award-winners, classics, and new work by the hottest young writers, Haikasoru is the first imprint dedicated to bringing Japanese science fiction to America and beyond. Featuring the action of anime and the thoughtfulness of the best speculative fiction, Haikasoru aims to truly be the “high castle” of science fiction and fantasy. For more information on Haikasoru please visit at

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 23, 2012 – In the fictional island nation of Navidad, formerly a Japanese occupied territory, a bus containing a Japanese delegation vanishes without a trace, causing a diplomatic imbroglio. President Mat as Guili, the dictator of Navidad, favors the Japanese way of life and looks to Japan for inspiration. The people of Navidad are rather less friendly, however many of them remember the Japanese occupation and are worried about the Japanese proposal to anchor oil tankers over the island's coral reef. As Guili bumbles through his days, visiting his girlfriend's brothel, flattering Japanese diplomats, and taking long baths, a conspiracy forms against him from the mystical Navidad island of Melchor. Despite ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and magical priestesses, the book is as much a leisurely commentary on post-colonial dictatorships as it is a work of magical realism. Readers are treated to rambling digressions on topics like the importance of buses in Navidadian life or Guili's past history and love life. Still, Ikezawa's newest (after A Burden of Flowers) has its own strange, meandering charm, giving readers a glimpse into the legacy of colonization from a Japanese perspective.

Customer Reviews

Fiction, fantasy, or nonsense

Bursts of narrative poetry, characters with the potential to fascinate and a titillating undercurrent of the supernatural fail to elevate this novel to a level worthy of translator Alfred Birnbaum's great skills. There are points when the story begins to take shape and move along and then stalls and stutters like an old bus driven too many miles on old island roads. A good editor may have smoothed out some of the potholes in the plot but only a few of the minor characters were drawn with any depth and dimension.

The Navidad Incident
View in iTunes
  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Mar 20, 2012
  • Publisher: VIZ Media
  • Seller: VIZ Media, LLC
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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