The Witch of the West is dead
de Kaho Nashiki


This is one of those stories that in English are called coming of age. Mai, the protagonist, is thirteen years old and faces for the first time the pain of not fitting in with her surroundings and, above all, the pain of losing her grandmother. What her grandmother teaches her during the summer they spend together in the countryside before her death is a world that fades, a life that is lived slowly and in communion with nature and with one’s own body and intuition, that type of knowledge and spiritual connection between people and other living beings that, the narrator says, has been lost in the current lifestyle. Mai calls the grandmother the witch of the west first because she is different, she is from England and therefore comes from the West, and second because she has the ability (powers) to intuit and connect emotionally with her environment, with special emphasis on plants. .

Author biography:

Kaho Nashiki was born in Kagoshima Prefecture and graduated from Doshisha University in Kyoto. She writes for both children and adults. Her 1994 novel The Witch of the West is Dead received the JAWC New Talent Award, the Shogakukan Children’s Publication Culture Award, and the Niimi Nankichi Children’s Literature Award, becoming a huge success. This book was adapted to film. Other works by the author include Back Yard, which won the Fantasy Prize for Children’s Literature in 1995, and Through the Swampy Woods, which won the Sense of Gender Prize in 2005 and the Murasaki Shikibu Literary Prize in 2006, in addition to Umiuso, among her most representative works. Other children’s books include The Painter and Crab Mound Tale.


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