Books·Canadian

Mysterious Dreams of the Dead

Mysterious Dreams of the Dead is a novel by Terry Watada.

Terry Watada

At the heart of Mysterious Dreams of the Dead is the spiritual search for a father who died in a plane crash north of Lake Superior when his son was 15 years old. Mike Shintani decides in his early 30s to address the curious circumstances surrounding his father's death; the senior Shintani's body was never found, and wolves circled the crash site as if guarding the area.

The impetus for Mike's search for truth is a diary he found in the basement of his home. It was obviously his father's, but it was written in Japanese. Mike never knew his father could write Japanese. He himself could neither read nor write the language. He was fortunate enough to enlist the help of Naoko Ito, a Japanese grad student at the University of Toronto. It turned out, the book was a dream diary, filled with poetry, descriptions of the surreal, and the story of a love affair with a woman named Chiemi. Chiemi is at the centre of the elder Shintani's dreams, and Naoko, after some time, seemingly disappears into thin air. Both appear as ghosts in dreams. Another great mystery of Mike's life is the behaviour of one of his best friends, Boku Sugiura, who decides one day to rob a bank, in the name of his grandfather and redress for Japanese Canadians. The two strains of the novel come together in Moose Jaw.

Mike discovers the truth about his father's life and Boku's uncle (Daniel Sugiura from The Three Pleasures), a protestor in the Moose Jaw stand-off. Through elements of the Japanese ghost story (kwaidan), magic realism, and Buddhist myth, secrets are revealed and explored. The Mysterious Dreams of the Dead is an imaginative examination of the effect of the exile, internment, and dispersal on the third-generation of Japanese Canadians (the Sansei). (From Anvil Press)

Mysterious Dreams of the Dead is available in March 2020.

Terry Watada is a poet, playwright and author based in Toronto. He is also the author of the novel The Three Pleasures.

Other books by Terry Watada

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.