The fiction of Kenji Nakagami has peer in contemporary Japan. Born into the burakumin -- an outcast class shunned in feudal Japan and still suffering discrimination today -- Nakagami depicts the lives of his people in powerful, sensual prose and stark, sometimes horrifying detail. The Cape is his breakthrough vella about a burakumin community in a small coastal city and their struggles with complicated family histories and troubled memories. Poverty, violence, suicide, and the harsh natural conditions of their home constantly disrupt their lives. Two more early stories, The Burning House and Redhead, continue these themes, relieved by small moments of profound tenderness.