The six stories that make up "Little Pieces" are all set in Japan, land of Zen austerity, manga excess, and much in between. In "First Snow," a joyous chance reunion of a babysitter and her one-time charge unexpectedly spirals into confession and response. Sonoko, in the story that bears her name, slips with practiced ease out of the world of her life into that of 11th-century Japan. In "The Miracle," the miracle is that nothing happens-until the end. The narrator of "The Concussion," age 87, sums up the spirit of these stories when, responding to the disbelief he inspires, he says, "I have the sort of face that turns everything I say into a joke. Still..."
"First Snow" and "Sonoko" first appeared in The Japan Times.