When his wife returns to her parents house to have their second child, an unnamed narrator and his son are left to manage by themselves. Instead of absence, what the father and son begin to notice is a strange noise opening up between them, reverberating through their home, their television set, and the books they read at night. The wood outside their home hums with it, too: leaves fall from branches which are already naked, trees wriggle when walked past, and the hills on the horizon rise and fall in a building rhythm.
Ono’s stories teeter on the edge of something unsayable, exploring repetition and contradiction to sketch compelling, otherworldly characters. The strange sound which hums through the twinned narratives is distilled in Carpenter’s translation, which masterfully employs the rhythms and echoes of the English language to convey Ono’s sense that something is coughing, laughing, turning under the words on the page.