The Bridegroom Was a Dog

Fiction

Yoko Tawada
translated by Margaret Mitsutani

A bizarre tale of passion and romance between a schoolteacher and a dog

The Bridegroom Was a Dog is perhaps the Japanese writer Yoko Tawada's most famous work. Its initial publication in 1998 garnered admiration from The New Yorker,  which praised it as a "fast-moving, mysteriously compelling tale that has the dream quality of Kafka."

The Bridegroom Was a Dog begins with a schoolteacher telling a fable to her students. In the fable, a princess promises her hand in marriage to a dog that has licked her bottom clean. The story takes an even stranger twist when that very dog appears to the schoolteacher in real life as a doglike man. A romantic — and sexual — courtship develops, much to the chagrin of her friends, who have suspicions about the man's identity.