Autumn Light, Pico Iyer 2019
Iyer is a 62 year old British-born, Anglo-American writer who has lived in Japan for the last 26 years. A novelist, essayist, and travel writer, he was returning from a trip to Hong Kong after his Harvard and Oxford education when he stopped over in Japan and fell in love with the country. He married a Japanese woman with 2 children, and they’ve lived in a tiny apartment in Nara, the ancient capital of Japan. He travels to Santa Barbara, CA to care for his aging mother in between writing assignments around the world. In this book Iyer reflects upon his favorite season in Japan as well as the autumn of his life. The book is a collection of vignettes about Japan, ping pong, Buddhism and Shinto, and the ‘life that is lived’ between the high and low points that make up the plot of a movie. The writing is quietly beautiful—“Autumn is the season when everything falls away.” One is left admiring the Japanese pace and respect for ancestors, place, and quiet. A lovely book for a quiet weekend.