This is part of Penguin's mini Modern Classics collection which consists of 50 plain little books. They are all short stories from authors, many of whom will be well known to you - E. M. Forster, D. H. Lawrence, Joseph Conrad and many more... but perhaps you will not have come across the story before. Or at least that's the idea behind them anyway.
Hell Screen is translated by Jay Rubin, who if you're a Haruki Murakami fan you will recognise of course. Maybe he is part of the reason I really enjoyed this little book which actually contains two short stories - Hell Screen and The Spider Thread. They are very good, very beautifully written stories that feel more like fairy tales.
Both of these little stories feature 'Hell' and both feature characters who are arrogant or selfish. The whole book is less then 60 pages long so you can read both of these in one day - or even one hour.
According to Penguin - "Though they don't take long to read, they'll stay with you long after you turn the final page." I admit, I felt sceptical about this because I'm still a little sceptical how a short story can really draw you in. However, all fears removed I really enjoyed this little book - the story, the writing and everything.
I'll be looking out for more of this Ryuonsuke Akatagwa in the future. He only wrote short fiction (he is well known for it) and ended his own life by suicide, very sad.
Now I am tempted to buy some more of these little classics. They're only £3... how much could that add up to!!