Setting a precarious tone reminiscent more of The Spirit of the Beehive than his own mold-busting Ring trilogy, Death and the Flower may be horror-master Koji Suzuki’s most personal offering in English yet. Skirting genre expectations—even as revised by the author—and thus often overseen, all six of the tales herein are available in English for the first time.In the longest of the stories, “Beyond the Darkness,” a couple with a baby daughter realizes that saving up and moving into a brand-new apartment does not mean that they have shaken off a vicious prank-caller. In “Disposable Diapers and a Race Replica,” a sporty father who is barely making ends meet by tutoring comes by some verities in exchange for a brush with death. In “Key West,” a young girl on a tourist trip with her daddy sees things recede that shouldn’t. Common to the stories is a resilient affirmation of the place of family in our quest to wrest meaning from the maws of an unkind world. Predating the horror-themed collection Dark Water, whose title story inspired major motion pictures on both sides of the Pacific, Death and the Flower was Koji Suzuki’s first book of short stories.
Born in 1957 in Hamamatsu, southwest of Tokyo, Koji Suzuki attended Keio University, where he majored in French. After graduating he held numerous odd jobs including a stint as a tutor. The father of two daughters whom he reared as a struggling writer while his wife worked, he has authored books on childrearing in addition to his blockbuster Ring trilogy and other fiction. Death and the Flower is Suzuki’s ninth work to appear in English. He is based in Tokyo but loves to travel, often in the United States.