Author David Mitchell Co-Translates 'Autism Memoir' By 13 Year Old Japanese Boy

Author David Mitchell Co-Translates 'Autism Memoir'

Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell and his wife Keiko Yoshida recently finished translating a famous Japanese book written by a thirteen year-old autistic child, the Independent reports.

Titled The Reason I Jump, author Naoki Higishida wrote the book to give readers a true grasp of autism’s realities. The Independent goes into detail how Higishida, now a motivational speaker and author of multiple books, crafted his story:

Despite a very low verbal fluency, the young Naoki used an alphabet grid to painstakingly spell out his answers to the questions he imagined others most often wonder about him: ‘Why do you talk so loud? Is it true you hate being touched? Would you like to be normal?’

Sceptre, the English-translated book’s publisher, compares the work to Jean-Dominique Bauby’s The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly, which offers a glimpse into the complexities of locked-in syndrome. They feel The Reason I Jump will dispel certain myths about autism:

Naoki examines issues as diverse and complex as self-harm, perceptions of time and beauty, and the challenges of communication, and in doing so, discredits the popular belief that autistic people are anti-social loners who lack empathy. This book is mesmerising proof that inside an autistic body is a mind as subtle, curious, and caring as anyone else's.

The project was a personal endeavor for Mitchell and Yoshida, who have a son with autism. Their translated text is set to hit bookshelves in July.

Sounds fascinating, no? Who here plans to pick this one up?

Image of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death
Author: Jean-Dominique Bauby
Price: $10.83
Publisher: Vintage (1998)
Binding: Paperback, 131 pages
Christopher Shultz

News by Christopher Shultz

Christopher Shultz writes weird, dark fiction. His stories have appeared both online and in print, including most recently in Apex Magazinefreeze frame flash fiction and Grievous Angel. In addition to LitReactor, he has also written for Ranker.comCultured Vultures and At times, he dabbles in digital art and photography. Christopher lives in Oklahoma City with his fiancée Lauren and their two mostly well-behaved cats. More info at

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Rósa Grímsdóttir's picture
Rósa Grímsdóttir March 1, 2013 - 2:04pm

Fantastic news.  I love the fact that people have started to be more open about autism and what it really is.  There are too many myths about it.