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Minae Mizumura is one of the most important Japanese novelists writing today. All her novels pay homage to the great literary traditions while breaking new grounds. They have won both critical acclaim and a wide readership. She writes here about her third and most recent novel, which received the 2003 Yomiuri Literature Award.

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Everyone knows Wuthering Heights to be a most absorbing classic. It carries the reader to a realm where everything becomes at once dream-like and harrowingly intense, holds her transfixed in that realm, and even after she has closed the book, won't let her go for a long while afterward. When A Real Novel, a remaking of Wuthering Heights, was published in 2002, readers, critics, and scholars eagerly reported having the same experience. Some even went on to say it affected them more intensely than Wuthering Heights. A Real Novel brings back to life the celebrated lovers. It even brings back to life Nelly, the problematic narrator. It uses the same narrative structure to tell the tragic and yet blissful love story --- though with infinite changes. For A Real Novel is not only a remaking of a classic but a remaking of the English classic in postwar Japan. Hence, interwoven with the central love story is another story that makes the novel absorbing in a very different way. It is a story of Japan: how its prewar social structure, the source of much misery, plight, yearning, splendor, and human drama, gradually gave way to a happy, middle-class vapidness in the fifty years following World War II.

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