When beard scholar meets suicidal student in The Pine Islands

German writer Marion Poschmann's The Pine Islands is shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize

PHOTO: SERPENT’S TAIL

For three months, German writer Marion Poschmann walked around the gardens of Kyoto. She stared at gravel. She circled ponds. She wanted, she thought, to write a book about pine trees.

Take the Japanese black pine for instance, says the 49-year-old in an e-mail interview. "It is formally trimmed in a way that looks absolutely wild, so nature is formed into a picture of nature or an idea of nature."

Please or to continue reading the full article.

Get unlimited access to all stories at $0.99/month

  • Latest headlines and exclusive stories
  • In-depth analyses and award-winning multimedia content
  • Get access to all with our no-contract promotional package at only $0.99/month for the first 3 months*

*Terms and conditions apply.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2019, with the headline 'When beard scholar meets suicidal student'. Print Edition | Subscribe