Synopses & Reviews
A surreal coming-of-age tale that establishes Ryu Murakami as one of the most inventive young writers in the world today.
Abandoned at birth in adjacent train station lockers, two troubled boys spend their youth in an orphanage and with foster parents on a semi-deserted island before finally setting off for the city to find and destroy the women who first rejected them. Both are drawn to an area of freaks and hustlers called Toxitown. One becomes a bisexual rock singer, star of this exotic demimonde, while the other, a pole vaulter, seeks his revenge in the company of his girlfriend, Anemone, a model who has converted her condominium into a tropical swamp for her pet crocodile.
Together and apart, their journey from a hot metal box to a stunning, savage climax is a brutal funhouse ride through the eerie landscape of late-twentieth-century Japan.
"The third of this prolific Japanese author's 30 novels to appear in English, this is a cyber-Bildungsroman of playful breadth and uncertain depth . . . The settings seem lifted from Japanese animation epics: an abandoned mining town, an underwater tunnel and a retreat in the mountains. . . .a lush and frantic imagination . . . expansive and exciting." -Publishers Weekly
"A knockout ... a great big pulsating parable." -Washington Post
"Deliciously grotesque." -Philadelphia Inquirer
"The work of Murakami who is also a filmmaker begs comparison with film. Robocop comes to mind as bearing the closest resemblance to this novel." -Library Journal
"... an amazing, imaginative adventure." -Beverley Curran, The Daily Yomiuri
"Its power grabbed me by the heart."-Banana Yoshimoto, best selling author of Kitchen
"Devilish and brilliant." -Oliver Stone, filmmaker
"Startlingly hip, frighteningly inventive." -Roger Corman, filmmaker
"A writer with talent to burn." -Gary Indiana, author of Rent Boy
This work, from one of Japan's most inventive young writers, traces the surreal adventures of two abandoned teenagers in the heart of Tokyo. Murakami's first novel, "Almost Transparent Blue", sold over one million copies on first publication.
Japan's most surreal coming-of-age story about two troubled boys abandoned at birth in adjacent train station lockers.
About the Author
RYU MURAKAMI was born in 1952. The only son of schoolteacher parents, he grew up in the port city of Sasebo in southwestern Japan. After graduating from a local high school, where he played the drums in a band called Coelacanth, he went to an art college in Tokyo. It was while studying there that he entered his first novel, Almost Transparent Blue
, in a competition for new writers. Published in 1976, the book won a major literary award and sold over a million copies. Since then, he has worked for a publishing house, presented a weekly music and interview radio program, and hosted a TV talk show. His literary output includes two collections of stories Run, Takahashi
(1985) and Topaz
(1988), and the novel Coin Locker Babies
(1980), which made its debut in English early in 1995. His roman a clef 69
appeared in English in 1993. He has also directed four movies based on his writing, causing a sensation at an Italian film festival when Tokyo Decadence
was shown there in 1992. His latest film is set in the U.S. and Cuba.
STEVEN SNYDER, the translator, is Professor of Japanese Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Among his first-rate translations from Japanese are Kunio Tsuji's The Signore: Shogun of the Warring States, which won the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize; Ryu Murakami's Coin Locker Babies; Kenzaburo Oe's A Healing Family; and the forthcoming Out by Natsuo Kirino.