“While I was living in Tokyo with my family three years ago, where we were living in the Roppongi area” writes Josef Winkler about his latest book, “at the age of 99 my father died who, a year before his death, when he learned that in my last volume of prose I had been less than complimentary about a farmer from my home village, had told me in a brief but dramatic phone monologue that if I had stooped that low I should not bother turning up for his funeral. When we were told that he had passed away, I was standing in the Austrian Embassy in Tokyo in front of a wall made from a single sheet of glass. I was looking out at a pond of Wakin goldfish, when a heron with broad outspread wings settled on the bank of the pond. So my dead father, I thought at this moment of mourning and happiness, has shown himself to me once more in the form of a white heron, before he has to be shovelled into the earth, with his long, thin red legs, with his long pointed beak now covered in earth, looking for the worms of his future grave in Roppongi. His curse was fulfilled: we didn’t travel back, we stayed in Roppongi.”
Croatian translation by Snježana Rodek.