Synopses & Reviews
Margaret is doing everything in her power to forget home. And Tokyo's exotic nightlife -- teeming with intoxicants, pornography, and three-hour love hotels -- enables her to keep her demons at bay. Working as an English specialist at Air-Pro Stewardess Training Institute by day, and losing herself in a sex- and drug-addled oblivion by night, Margaret represses memories of her painful childhood and her older brother Frank's descent into madness.
But Margaret's deliberate nihilism is thrown off balance as she becomes increasingly haunted by images of a Western girl missing in Tokyo. And when she becomes enamored of Kazu, a mysterious gangster, their affair sparks a chain of events that could spell tragedy for Margaret, in a city where it's all too easy to disappear.
"Margaret, a 20-something Canadian, has fled to Tokyo to escape her past and now instructs aspiring stewardesses in 'cabin-crew and airline interview English.' By night, she numbs herself with drink and dangerous sex. Her story, as readers learn in alternating chapters, features an imploding family and a dangerously schizophrenic brother. Though Margaret is less than convincing as a narrator, her surreal Tokyo encounters propel the book: a barkeep who communicates with lines from Beatles songs, speakers in public bathrooms that broadcast flushing sounds, a rent-a-dog park, a Western slacker who gigs as a fake wedding minister. And, of course, the automated love hotels that Margaret frequents with a Japanese gangster. The plot lurches forward Margaret becomes fixated on a missing Western girl, gets fired and hooks up with a man whose name she never learns before her roommate flees. There's redemption to be gained, but the fractured narrative feels like a string of bizarre moments. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Hanrahan follows many of the standard chick-lit rules for chronicling heartbreak and the tragedy that is the end of an affair, no matter how bad an idea the affair was in the first place. But she also keeps Lost Girls and Love Hotels on a slightly higher literary plain." Chicago Sun-Times
"Hanrahan successfully conveys an undercurrent of dark menace to Margaret's Japanese experience, and, at the end of the story, she dramatically leaves us hanging. This insider view of high-end Japanese youth culture is wicked and unsparing." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Catherine Hanrahan's fiction has appeared in Zoetrope All-Story Extra and Open City. Born in Montreal, she has lived in Thailand, England, and Japan, where she worked as a bar hostess and English teacher.