The Salaryman's Wife Mass Market Paperback – Apr 5 2000
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The Salaryman's Wife is proof that arts grants do occasionally produce good art. Sujata Massey taught English in Japan and worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun. She applied for and won the Malice Domestic Grant for Unpublished Writers, which allowed her to finish this beautifully crafted story of cross-cultural suspense.
Rei Shimura is a 27-year-old Japanese American English teacher, living precariously on her tiny paycheck in Tokyo, the most expensive city in the world. She's determined not to use the plane ticket back to California offered by her parents. On a visit to the ancient castle town of Shiroyama, brought to such rich life that you'll want to head there instantly, Rei gets involved in a local murder. Her probing angers the conservative police and most of the citizens, but Rei persists, in spite of threats to her life and freedom. Her character is so well conceived and her adventures so believable that readers across the world should identify with Rei--and hope for a second serving soon.
"A terrific debut, crafted with surprising twists and turns, and steeped in the flavor of contemporary Japan." -- -- Jonnie Jacobs
"A witty, perceptive take on how contemporary society clashed with traditional culture in modern Japan." -- -- Laura John Rowland
"This book is a magic carpet to the Japanese Alps, and serves up murder as well. Great reading!" -- -- Barbara D'Amato
"A terrific debut, crafted with surprising twists and turns, and steeped in the flavor of contemporary Japan." -- Jonnie Jacobs
"A witty, perceptive take on how contemporary society clashed with traditional culture in modern Japan." -- Laura John Rowland
"Sujata Massey blasts her way into fiction with The Salaryman's Wife, a cross-cultural mystery of manners with a decidedly sexy edge." -- Janet Evanonich
"This book is a magic carpet to the Japanese Alps, and serves up murder as well. Great reading!" -- Barbara D'AmatoSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It also seemed that the seedy side of town was a lot nicer to her then the "upstanding" side of town. She hangs with the other rejected folks, the foreigners, gays, etc. They provide a family and support network that are fascinating to see. (It's this way here, if you don't fit in with the local environment's Barbie's and Ken's, then you drift to the rejected ones.)
It was a little sad to see her pursuing acceptance in a country that would never accept her. Their hangup: she's a mixed race, poor, short-haired, old-maid foreigner.
I've never been to Japan, but I've known (long-term) some (traditional) Japanese guys born here, that seem to reflect a lot of the attitudes that the Rei has experienced. Sorta extreme sexism, extremely spoiled, xenophobia, germ-aphobia, fat-aphobia, smell-aphobia, poor-aphobia... My sibling, hanging with foreign grad students would agree on 80% of the traditional guys.
Anyway so she's being rejected strenously by Japanese mainstream, yet getting groped on trains and getting tricked by her salary-men students to get up on desks to pose for a birthday-party picture, then the guys jab the camera under her skirt taking snapshots. Everyday's a frat party for the salarymen, they are gods.
Story line: she goes to the Japanese Alps for a vacation. She stays in a bed & breakfast and meets the other residents. One of the residents gets killed, her cretin husband is the suspect, as well as this HOT Scottish guy. Wierd things start to happen after the murder.Read more ›
Perhaps my real problem though is a lack of good editing. While Ms. Massey's writing is excellent I found myself on more than one occassion tripping over a reference to something that had never occurred anywhere in the book. An example is that the main character, Rei, is surprised in the bath when a man walks in, not realizing it was for women only. Later on the man apologizes to her and references having learned she has been sexually assaulted and post traumatic stress disorder. My guess is this must have been a plot direction which Ms Massey later disgarded, but this particular reference didn't get deleted. It is a small error yes, but when you are caught up in a story such a reference can be jarring to the reader. I found myself going backwards to see if I'd missed something rather than going forwards.
Rei Shimura is the cherished twentysomething daughter of mixed-heritage wealthy parents. Her father is Japanese, her mother is American, and Rei is an uneasy mixture of both. She has stubbornly chosen to make her own way in Tokyo as a teacher of English to Japanese businessmen in a corporation. Rei, however, is far from the corporate type. She lives by choice in a dicey neighborhood with an openly gay male companion, the delightful Richard. Her passion is antiques, but she can afford very few. Her clothes are shabby, but not chic. And her hair is unfashionably short, which causes quite a bit of comment, most of it negative, among conservative Japanese.
When Rei takes a much-needed vacation to a ski resort, her warring sensibilities are even more heightened. She loves the ritual of the bath, she loves the zen-like meals and atmosphere of the hotel at which she is staying--but when the beautiful wife of a Japanese businessman is found mysteriously dead on the premises, Rei's impatient American nature leaps to the fore. Convinced it was murder, Rei feels compelled to solve it, at her own considerable risk and that of her unlikely "partner in crime," a Scottish lawyer named Hugh Glendenning.
Even as she is increasingly attracted to the Scotsman, Rei wonders: Did he have something to do with the death of the woman? Was he her lover? Is he friend or is he foe--and what in the world can she do to squelch her growing desire for this highly unsuitable man?
All the answers come in good time...to the great delight of this reader, who has already ordered the next in the series. Very highly recommended!
Most recent customer reviews
"The Salaryman's Wife" is a must for those who like their mystery with a dash of the exotic. Rei Shimura is a young Japanese-American woman living in Tokyo. Read morePublished on May 25 2003 by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this book - it was very well written for a first novel and the mystery kept me guessing.
Rei, the main character is earnest, tenacious, hot headed and a bit... Read more
You wouldn't think that a murder mystery would be the best introduction to another country, but Massey does for Japan what Hillerman does for the Native American Southwest: she... Read morePublished on Aug. 21 2002 by Lawrence E. Wilson
The last thing that Rei Shimura want to do on her vacation is get mixed up in a murder, but that is exactly what happens to this 27-year-old Japanese-American expatriate. Read morePublished on July 22 2002 by Alicia K. Ahlvers
THE SALARYMAN'S WIFE is the first entry in this new series featuring Rei Shimura as an American teaching English in Japan. Read morePublished on April 26 2002 by MLPlayfair
I read this book and went out and bought her next two books right away! I bought this one because I love Japan, but you don't need to love Japan to enjoy this book! Read morePublished on Dec 30 2001 by Deborah Kemp
Massey serves up an intelligent mystery that zigs and zags, keeping the reader on her/his toes. Interwoven in the story is the experience of a Japanese/American heroine who faces... Read morePublished on Dec 29 2001 by Beth A. Emmerling
I am a great reader of mysteries, I feel they give me a chance to use my imagination to see the sights, smell the smells, and feel the emotions. Read morePublished on Sept. 26 2001 by C. C. Lee