The Stones Cry Out won the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in Japan and is the first of Hikayuru Okuizumi's novels to be translated into English. Though shorter than the Murakami book, it is a more expansive work, delving into frightening territory. It is the story of Tsuyoshi Manase, whose wartime experiences in the Phillipines have created twin veins of delight and horror that run beneath the landscape of his life. With a few restrained strokes, Okuizumi tackles the legacy of World War II and the uncertain possibility of absolution.
Smoothly translated by James Westerhoven, Okuizumi's prose is full of glassy surfaces that tilt to reveal vertigo-inducing depths. His characters are allegorical figures of Japan's past and present and his message seems to be that there is nor redemption for the horrors of war, no way to lay nightmarish memories to rest. 'Manase's landscapes were worm-eaten. The canvases had black holes that became wider every day.' There are only his beloved stones, hard and unforgiving but hiding radiance behind their dull exteriors.