Nakamura, Fuminori. The Thief.

NY: Soho Press, 2012.

I kind of have a thing about contemporary Japanese fiction. I don’t know why, really, but books by people like Ryu Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, Natsuo Kirino, and Mitsuo Kakuta, who are very different from each other in style and subject matter, nevertheless appeal to me on a number of levels.

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Murakami, Haruki. After Dark.

NY: Knopf, 2007.

The city is unnamed but let’s call it Tokyo. It’s a couple minutes to midnight in an entertainment district. Mari Asai sits in a crowded second-floor Denny’s restaurant, reading a thick book with great intensity and sipping a single cup of coffee.

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Published in: on 25 March 2013 at 11:11 am  Leave a Comment  
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McKinnon, Gina. 500 Essential Cult Books: The Ultimate Guide.

NY: Sterling, 2010.

I remember, years ago, being involved in an extended, entirely friendly, but nevertheless intense argument with several friends, fellow science fiction fans, about which were the “best” novels in that field. Not the most literary, nor even the best-written (which might have excluded Heinlein entirely), but the essential books that no one who considered himself a fan could have NOT read. My top choice was (probably still is) Stranger in a Strange Land.

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Ishiguro, Kazuo. When We Were Orphans.

NY: Knopf, 2000.

This is a rather odd novel, set in an off-kilter world and filled with decidedly strange people. Christopher Banks, born (apparently) around 1905 in Shanghai, grows up in the insular International Settlement, his best friend being a likewise isolated Japanese boy named Akira. Christopher — “Puffin” to his parents — lives almost entirely in the fantasy play world he and Akira invent — especially the detection scenarios they act out after his parents disappear. Indeed, he never really stops playing those games. (more…)

Published in: on 2 December 2009 at 10:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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