Pretty much all the modern Japanese fiction I’ve read has been underpinned by loneliness. Volcano is no different. The two main protagonists are elderly men – one a recently retired weather observatory director, the other an outcast French Catholic priest – who find themselves ailing in neighbouring hospital rooms. In the shadow of an ageing volcano that may or may not erupt, the former tries to come to terms with the frailty of his relationships, while the latter voluntarily wreaks further havoc on his. An elegant novel from the most famous of Japan’s “Third Generation“.

Translated by Richard A. Schuchert.

Set in a fictional provincial town in Kyushu, Japan.

Recommended by @lewisalloyd.