... Kashimada writes about one woman’s trauma with razor-perfect concision and an austere beauty ... There is certainly no shortage of novels about hotels with complicated histories, but Touring the Land of the Dead is fairly unique in its execution ... Through Natsuko’s story, Kashimada takes up some of the most complex issues in contemporary Japanese society: the future of the family in an aging country and what some people perceive as a post-bubble cultural ennui ... In comparison to the muted, third-person narrator of Touring the Land of the Dead, Nanako’s voice is eccentric and character driven. The two markedly different narrative voices show off the talent that helped Kashimada win Japan’s most coveted literary award, the Akutagawa Prize, for Touring the Land of the Dead. Haydn Trowell’s unobtrusive translation leaves room for Kashimada’s prose as she reflects on family, memory, and identity.
... an interesting character- and family study ... an unusual piece of work, but surprisingly convincing and effective ... 'Ninety-Nine Kisses' is a livelier story ... ction. She is emotional, eager, and confused, all of which bubbles nicely into her account. If the picture of the family thus also remains somewhat limited, it's nevertheless a compelling voice and vision, and 'Ninety-Nine Kisses' is a very lively and quite charming family-tale.
... ably translated ... a delicate, layered exploration of family, trauma, and memory ... While this story links thematically to Touring the Land of the Dead through its portrayal of a family in unglamorous circumstances, uncertainty in one's sense of self, and aberrant manifestations of familial bonds, it doesn't quite rise to its rarefied level ... An intriguing introduction to a significant voice in contemporary Japanese fiction.