At the New Yorker, Abhrajyoti Chakraborty argues for recognition of Yuko Tsushima’s Territory of Light (trans. Geraldine Harcourt) as an example of indirect autofiction:
Dreams and deaths. Can a novel be woven out of such ineffable things? In Territory of Light, Tsushima makes the vaporous seem real, imparting an inner progression to stray signs and portents. Even death comes to exude an earthly “warmth and softness,” and its randomness merges with the randomness of being alive. The narrator is a single mother, recently separated from her husband. She and her two-year-old child move in to a large, well-lit apartment, in Tokyo, on the top floor of a building. We follow them for a year as they figure out how to live on their own. The narrator has dreams that are vivid and ominous. She keeps hearing rumors of acquaintances dying, or running into funerals on her way to work. Her ex-husband is annoyed at being barred from seeing their daughter. Late at night, she is often awakened by the sound of the child crying in her sleep.
For all its apparent desolation, nearly every chapter of the novel culminates in a moment of edifying grace. Whether it’s a pool of water accruing like “the sea” on a rooftop, a brief spell of silence near a traffic intersection at certain hours of the day, or a translated recording of a Goethe lyric that the narrator overhears at her job in the library (“Quick now, give up this idle pondering! / And let’s be off into the great wide world!”), everyday impressions are described with an ardent clarity to make up for the eschewal of plot. It’s a striking formal achievement: the book is held together by the force of its images. But the sentences also draw their delicate vigor from the tension between the novel’s fixation on death and its narrator’s wish to get on with her day — between her father’s passing, as it were, and Goethe’s call to arms.