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The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P [Hardcover]

Rieko Matsuura , Michael Emmerich

List Price: CDN$ 28.95
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Book Description

Dec 1 2009

A modern-day fairy tale about a young woman whose big toe turns into a penis.

The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P is a highly-acclaimed work of fiction that won Japan's most prestigious literary prize for women writers. A provocative, picaresque spin on a coming-of-age story, the novel tells of a young Japanese woman who wakes up one afternoon to discover that her big toe has turned into a penis. In learning to adjust to her new sexual organ, the heroine is forced to reconsider her body, her sexuality and her life. After fleeing from her homophobic fiancé, she falls in love with a bisexual blind pianist who accepts her for whom she is, and together they join a troupe of performers-all sexually deformed and emotionally twisted men and women. Thus begins her "apprenticeship."

There are few novels that are equally praised by literary critics and scholars alike, and fewer yet that actually go on to become bestsellers, but The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P is both. It is a highly imaginative, intelligent work-first-rate as literature, as entertainment and as a love story.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International; 1 edition (Dec 1 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770031165
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770031167
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 15.5 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 862 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #771,672 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"With pleasure as her scalpel, Rieko Matsuura opens up a world all her own, that no one else can ever hope to imitate. She has one enduring theme. And that theme is love." --Natsuo Kirino, author of Out"Matsuura's cult classic is finally available to readers of English, and we've been missing a treasure. This adventure fable explores sex, gender and the erotic with seditious lucidity and a soaring imagination that examines the whole absurd concoction from unexpected angles. It is enchanting, hilarious, and genuinely poignant." --Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love"Matsuura's imagination is limitless." --The World"Delving boldly into the kind of magical realism employed regularly by her compatriot Haruki Murakami, Matsuura has a more grounded, Kafka-esque interest in the practical (rather than supernatural or spiritual) implications..." --Publishers WeeklyOnline

About the Author

Rieko Matsuura was born in Matsuyama, Japan, in 1958, and graduated from Aoyama Gakuin University with a BA in French literature. She debuted as a writer in 1978, while still in college, with "The Day of the Funeral", a short story that won that year's Bungakukai Prize for New Writers. Since then, she has published six works of fiction and three essay collections - among them Natural Woman (1987), a series of three related novell as exploring lesbian love; The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P (1993), a bestseller that won the Women's Literature Prize, Japan's most prestigious literary award for women writers; and A Dog's Body (2007), about the intimate but nonsexual relationship between a woman with "species identity disorder" who turns into a dog, and her friend-turned-owner. The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P is Matsuura's first novel to be translated into English. THE TRANSLATOR Michael Emmerich has translated eleven books from Japanese by authors including Banana Yoshimoto, Yasunari Kawabata, and Gen'ichiro Takahashi. He teaches Japanese literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bizarre romp through sexuality, gender, and the dangers of taking things for granted Nov. 2 2010
By J. Tetreault - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As a connoisseur of weird novels, I have to say that this one is definitely one of the weirdest. Kazumi Mano -- a young woman formerly content to passively let life happen to her -- wakes up one day with the wrong genitalia... on her toe! Soon, Kazumi is forced to reevaluate her life, her sexuality, and everything she ever took for granted. Along the way, she finds love and friendship with a cast of "sexual freaks" just like herself. I thought this novel was hilarious and thought-provoking. A classic coming-of-age story masquerading as a bizarre fairy-tale, Matsuura's novel is really hard to put down. Even as I identified with Kazumi, I was totally unprepared for where this novel took me. This is a great novel for anyone searching for a conversation piece and just downright good story-telling!

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