The always astonishing Yoko Tawada here takes a walk on the supernatural side of the street. In “Kollwitzstrasse,” as the narrator muses on former East Berlin’s new bourgeois health food stores, so popular with wealthy young people, a ghost boy begs her to buy him the old-fashioned sweets he craves. She worries that sugar’s still sugar-but why lecture him, since he’s already dead? Then white feathers fall from her head and she seems to be turning into a crane .
. . Pure white kittens and a great Russian poet haunt “Majakowskiring”: the narrator who reveres Mayakovsky’s work is delighted to meet his ghost.
And finally, in “Pushkin Allee,” a huge Soviet-era memorial of soldiers comes to life-and, “for a scene of carnage everything was awfully well-ordered.” Each of these stories opens up into new dimensions the work of this magisterial writer.