I majored English-American Literature in college. I love to read foreign books, such as those written by Paul Auster, John lrving, Stephen King etc,. When it comes to Japanese books, I won't fail to pick up Lemon written by Kajii Motojiro. Here is good page about Motojiro Kajii(1901-1931). His life was a fight against poverty and sickness. He actually died from tuberculosis when he was just 31 years old.
Lemon is started with this line. "Indeterminate evil block held down my heart." (this is my translation, I hope it makes sense ). Because of the block, he couldn't react to the beauty of things which he loved before. To be free of such pressures, one day he went walking around the city of Kyoto. During his walk, he dropped into a fruit shop and bought a lemon from California. He pressed the cold lemon to his forehead, hand and cheek which were hot with fever from TB. Then he noticed something that he had been looking for was quite common, the flavor of fruit and he smelled the lemon clearly. He not only experienced the flavor, but also the weight of the lemon. He found the weight of the lemon, he felt that it was something beautiful, something good, something perfect. Maruzen was a classy department store which had foreign items like pipes, kissel, perfume bottles and so on. He loved them all, he loved Maruzen very much. But in those days he could not be close to Maruzen anymore. Maruzen was gorgeous, but he was so poor and sick. He looked in to Maruzen on that day. Although he was lifted up by lemon, he was soon brought down while inside Maruzen. He stood in front of his favorite books of paintings. He pulled a book out and looked at it, pulled another book out and looked at it. He did this for a while and books piled up there. He didn't have the strength to return those books to the shelf. So he set a lemon on top of the stack of books and left Maruzen. He felt as if he set a bomb at Maruzen, that image made him feel a little better.
That is story of Lemon. Lemon is A very very short novel. Actually we can read it in about 3 minutes. (sorry I could find only Japanese pages, 1.2.3) By the way, Maruzen is a real shop and you can find their main store in Ginza. On October 10th Maruzen will close their Kyoto shop which is associated with this novel Lemon. After they announced their closure, store staff found lemons on the books. They had lemons before a few times in a year, but this year they have found 11 lemons already. I like that story, people did it in memory of Maruzen and The poor and exquisite young novelist.