by Jean Pasley
The year is 1890. Western influences are flooding into Japan. A nomadic Irishman arrives to record this unique culture before it vanishes.
In this richly imagined novel, late nineteenth century Japan is brought vividly to life. Based on the remarkable experiences of the Irish writer, Lafcadio Hearn, and drawing on his letters, essays and books, Jean Pasley explores not only Hearn’s stark, lonely childhood in Ireland and his scandalous time in America but also how Japan changed him and how he went on to become one of Japan’s most celebrated and cherished writers.
“A lavish, beautiful testimony to the life and achievements of Lafcadio Hearn, the writer who opened our eyes to Japan’s intricate, extraordinary art and literature, and to its rituals, sometimes exquisite, sometimes scarifying, always uniquely the country’s own. Pasley is a true writer, and Black Dragonfly a book to read and remember.” — Frank McGuinness
“This is the story of the writer, Lafcadio Hearn, a complex and troubled man, as he tries to come to terms with his life and at the same time, negotiate the ancient, mysterious and fast-changing civilisation of nineteenth century Japan. Handled with great delicacy and empathy, from start to finish, Black Dragonfly is a pure pleasure to read.” — Christine Dwyer Hickey
“One of the most engaging and insightful books I’ve read in a long time. Written with vivacity and elegance, Black Dragonfly is a profound love letter to the fading elegance of an ancient civilisation skilfully captured in this alluring and absorbing tale. ” — Manchán Magan
Publication date: March 2021
Format: Paperback 216mm x 138mm
“Black Dragonfly is a lavish, beautiful testimony to the life and achievements of Lafcadio Hearn, the Irish man who in the nineteenth century opened our eyes to Japan’s extraordinary art and literature, and to its rituals, sometimes exquisite, sometimes scarifying, always uniquely the country’s own. Jean Pasley acutely imagines the dramatic twists and turns of Hearn’s tumultuous life, deeply sympathetic to the vicissitudes of his appalling childhood, in profound contact with his development as a man desperately seeking refuge, finding it in the secrets and stories of his beloved Japan. He marries Koizumi Setsuko, their love lies at the core of this remarkable book, the prose delicate at times as a gesture from the tea ceremony, and cutting as a samurai sword when the narrative shows its edge. Pasley is a true writer, and Black Dragonfly a book to read and remember.” —Frank McGuinness, Playwright