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“Brother and Sister” by Saisei Muro

Saisei Muro was born in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture. He started his literary career as a poet and later became a novelist.

The story revolves around the relationship between an elder brother and his younger sister. His love towards his sister is expressed through his dauntingly harsh words in a rather roundabout and twisted way. What impressed me was a juxtaposition of them being always emotional and intense to their father being detached and void of emotions. What has led him to such a state? Is he too old and tired to be involved in the troublesome life matters? Or is he just a typically alpha-male, macho type?

The more loudly the siblings quarrel with each other, the more the absence of the father comes to stand out. The story starts with him working in a river and ends with it, closing a full circle. Its structure reminds me of haiku, the art of montage. I’d like to quote one of Saisei’s poems about a river in his hometown. He was a beloved writer who cherished rivers and mountains and flowers.

“Sai River” The majestic river flows I live its side I sit on the embankment, grown with Spring flowers in the spring, summer flowers in the summer And find the grace and love of tenderhearted books The river still flows Pale waves ripple In the majestic breeze

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