Synopses & Reviews
Ransom, Jay McInerney's second novel, belongs to the distinguished tradition of novels about exile. Living in Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, Christopher Ransom seeks a purity and simplicity he could not find at home, and tries to exorcise the terror he encountered earlier in his travels—a blur of violence and death at the Khyber Pass.Ransom has managed to regain control, chiefly through the rigors of karate. Supporting himself by teaching English to eager Japanese businessmen, he finds company with impresario Miles Ryder and fellow expatriates whose headquarters is Buffalo Rome, a blues-bar that satisfies the hearty local appetite for Americana and accommodates the drifters pouring through Asia in the years immediately after the fall of Vietnam.Increasingly, Ransom and his circle are threatened, by everything they thought they had left behind, in a sequence of events whose consequences Ransom can forestall but cannot change.Jay McInerney details the pattern of adventure and disillusionment that leads Christopher Ransom toward an inevitable reckoning with his fate—in a novel of grand scale and serious implications.
"Ransom is the first novel Mclnerney wrote, but the second one that he published. Bright Lights, Big City was the second novel that he wrote, but the first one that he published, and its precocious intelligence and sardonic wit propelled it to best-seller status. So fans of that novel should not expect a great deal of development in Ransom, which they will eagerly buy. Overly schematic in its design, the novel tracks the psychological development of Christopher Ransom, an American living in Kyoto, Japan, and does so, of
course, by using his involvement with karate as a metaphor for the larger concerns of the novel. Read this as a piece of advanced juvenilia." Reviewed by Daniel Weiss, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)