Businessman Yuki Yajima is fifty-one years old. He and his wife, Asako, are the parents of two daughters: Ryo, seventeen, and Yuka, an infant of only two months. Asking himself why he s allowed himself to become a father again at his age, Yuki begins to remember his uncle, who died quite young younger, indeed, than Yuki is now. Thinking of this man, whom the young Yuki idolized, and who first introduced the boy to authors like Kenzabur e and the Marquis de Sade, serves as a strange tipping point: allowing a sense of chaos and complexity back into his otherwise well-heeled life. A rare work of fiction focused simply on a man of integrity a dying breed, in novels The Shadow of a Blue Cat meticulously renders his life and opinions as Yuki tries to find a middle path between the radicalism of his uncle s life and the quiet bourgeois home he s worked so hard to build. From The Shadow of a Blue Cat Perhaps I should start with a disclaimer. I am not some fresh-faced kid of seventeen or twenty, or even a relatively green thirty, which some people actually argue should be considered below the age of majority these days. No, the fact is, I ve already slid right on past the big five-oh a milestone no one thinks is very pretty and few are eager to reach to become a man of fifty-one. Now if a reader were to say that it s unsettling to have someone who s passed the half-century mark presenting himself as the narrator of a novel styled after the young writers of a generation ago, I would have to agree he has a point. But however much I may agree, I expect to press ahead in exactly such a style, for as I struggle to come to terms with my fifty-something self, it has become all too uncomfortably clear to me that a style more suited to a man my age simply does not exist.