The Pine Islands
14 April 2020
Gilbert Silvester, eminent scholar of beard fashions in film, wakes up one day from a dream that his wife has cheated on him. Certain the dream is a message, and unable to even look at her, he flees - immediately, irrationally, inexplicably - for Japan. In Tokyo he discovers the travel writings of the great Japanese poet Bashåo and decides to find solace in nature the way Bashåo did, despite knowing nothing of the culture he's stepped into. Suddenly, from Gilbert's directionless crisis there emerges a purpose: a pilgrimage in the footsteps of the poet to see the moon rise over the pine islands of Matsushima. Of course, unlike Bashåo, he will take a train. Along the way he falls into step with another pilgrim: Yosa, a young Japanese student clutching a copy of The Complete Manual of Suicide. Together, they travel across Bashåo's disappearing Japan, one in search of his perfect ending and the other a new beginning.--$cProvided by publisher.