The Office of Gardens and Ponds


Didier Decoin

Translated from the French by Euan Cameron

Hardback - Demy - 320 - £16.99 - 02/05/2019 - 9780857057600

The village of Shimae is thrown into turmoil when master carp fisherman Katsuro suddenly drowns in the murky waters of the Kusagawa river. Who now will carry the precious cargo of carp to the Imperial Palace and preserve the crucial patronage that everyone in the village depends upon?

It has to be Miyuki, Katsuro's grief-stricken widow and the only remaining person in the village who knows anything about fish. She alone can undertake the long, perilous journey to the Imperial Palace, balancing the heavy baskets of carp on a pole across her shoulders, and ensure her village's future.

So Miyuki sets off. Along her way she will encounter a host of remarkable characters, from prostitutes and innkeepers, to warlords and monks with evil in mind. She will endure ambushes and disaster, for the villagers are not the only people fixated on the fate of the eight magnificent carp.

But when she reaches the Office of Gardens and Ponds, Miyuki discovers that the trials of her journey are far from over. For in the Imperial City, nothing is quite as it seems, and beneath a veneer of refinement and ritual, there lurk perils that Miyuki must overcome if she is ever to return to Shimae.

— Le Monde
— Télérama
— Obs
— Express
Fresh, funny, erotic
— Echos
An unusual storyteller who has extensively researched the period he skilfully brings to life, Didier Decoin dazzles with his sense of atmosphere ... The Office of Gardens and Ponds is constantly surprising and captivating. It is a world full of women, ghosts, carp, juvenile emperors and rice packers, but what emerges is a sensual and enthralling mystery
Elise Williams