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Asking me to choose my favourite author would be like asking me to choose my favourite children if I were a mother! It’s simply not doable, silly meme. There are so many out there to choose from.

But I’ll once again, concede and pick one who is highly influential and important to me, but who hasn’t been mentioned in this meme yet: Osamu Dazai’s Blue Bamboo: Japanese Tales of Fantasy. Osamu Dazai was a highly popular 20th century Japanese author who, like many of his postwar colleagues, had an almost French dramatic flair to his personal life: He repeatedly attempted suicide, was unable to hold down a job, became a painkiller addict and a raging alcoholic, and eventually left his last wife and children in order to live with a beautician with whom he eventually committed double-suicide.

His turbulent and tragic personal life, however, provided amazing fuel for his literary work. Dazai’s stories are well-known in Japan for their dark, tragic edge, touching on feelings of despair and hopelessness. But it is his most light, fantastic, and magical book which I love, Blue Bamboo. It’s like a break in the cloud bank to let a bit of sunshine in, and I can only imagine that he was at his happiest when writing it. It’s a “tale within a tale” book, with four siblings spinning stories of romance, humour, and oddities. It’s a Japanese Arabian Nights. It gives me comfort to know that, at least, maybe while he was writing this, Osamu Dazai was happy and found a source of magic and wonder in his life.

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