Book Review: The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura
May 24, 2013 11 Comments
Japanese modern fiction is something I enjoy and read occasionally. I’m a fan of Haruki Murakami (e.g., The Wind-up Bird Chronicle) and I also loved books like The Devotion of Suspect X and Battle Royale.
The Thief is not typically Japanese, I thought. It’s set in Japan, but it could have taken place in other locations quite easily. I didn’t like it more or less because of that, it’s just an observation!
The Thief: What it is about
What the publishers say: “A Toyko pickpocket commits one crime too many – and finds himself way out of his depth. A taut, stylish noir thriller from one of the most feted new voices in Japanese fiction.
Nishimura is a seasoned pickpocket, weaving through Tokyo’s crowded streets, in search of potential targets. He has no family, no friends, no connections . . . But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when his old partner-in-crime reappears and offers him a job he can’t refuse. Suddenly, Nishimura finds himself caught in a web so tangled and intricate that even he might not be able to escape.“
The Thief: What I thought
This is a very well-written story about a pick-pocket. I loved reading about his methods to steals people’s wallets and how he got into the profession. I didn’t like it when he got involved with a gangster-type. It was not of his own volition and quite easy to see how this might happen. Still, what happened after that, was more interesting than I had expected.
The thief is clever and creative with his skills. Except for picking pockets, he seems quite an honest person, ready to help out others in need when he can. So, I quite liked him as a main character.
The story itself is sometimes confusing (I wasn’t always sure what was happening now and in the past) but it stays interesting until the (bitter) ending.
What it lacked (a little) in plot, it more than made up by writing style and the topic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this short book.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Number of pages: 212
First published: 2009 (Japanese edition; UK edition: 2012 (hardback), May 2013 (paperback))
I got this: from Corsair for review
Genre: contemporary fiction