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In the Miso Soup Paperback – Mar 28 2006
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Easygoing young Kenji makes good money guiding Americans through Tokyo's seamy nightlife. His teenage girlfriend has no objections, as long as he reserves New Year's Eve for her. But Kenji's latest client, a simmering psychopath called Frank, disrupts those holiday plans. He wants to regale Kenji with crazy monologues as he hypnotizes low-level sex workers. A fat man with superhuman strength, skin that's metallic to the touch, and an unsettling habit of telling contradictory lies, Frank immediately raises the guide's hackles. Kenji even suspects that this ugliest of Americans dismembered a local schoolgirl and immolated a homeless man. But until he can prove his suspicions--and for a disturbing while after--Kenji will keep leading this monster man from one bizarre scene to another. It's a compelling nightmare for Kenji and the reader, who both hope he'll either wake up screaming or escape and alert the cops. Instead, everyone remains in evil's thrall until it's too late. A wicked meditation on the worst traits of American and Japanese society, this is a creepy culture clash indeed. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A writer with talent to burn . . . Fellini and Günter Grass, David Bowie and Dostoevski, García Márquez and Mike Leigh’s Naked all come to mind." —Gary Indiana, author of Rent Boy
"A blistering portrait of contemporary Japan . . . one of the most savage thrillers since The Silence of the Lambs." —Kirkus ReviewsSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a cut above (pun intended) lots of slasher trash, but it's not nearly as profound as it thinks it is. Recommended for moody, reflective teens and young adults entranced by the combination of gore and aimless disaffection.
I guess that "In the Miso Soup" is categorized as a "psycho-thriller" and other reviews have been negative due to the amount of violence in the book. The story is based in the seedy world of the Tokyo sex trade, so naturally the overall theme is dark and the subject matter for adults. Although there is violence, none of it seemed overly gratuitous to me, and is there mainly to flesh out the characters.
The book is relatively short, which is a let-down after the great saga of Coin-Locker Babies that I enjoyed so much. "Miso Soup" is a good and solid thriller-type story that although not spectacular, is very enjoyable and full of seemingly factual information (on Japanese club/sex/night life).
This book is a must-read for Ryu Murakami fans, since who knows how many years it will be until the next story comes along.
The reader sees modern Japan through the first person point of view of Kenji, a 20 year old man who through his decent English, acts as a guide for foreigners in the sex districts of Tokyo, mainly the kabuki-cho. He is relatively successful and lives a decent life and his able to keep his young girlfriend happy as well. Then he meets Frank. Frank is an odd individual who has come to Japan to indulge in the water trade. Things go seriously wrong after that. I don't want to go into much detail, but Frank is an extraordinarily brutal individual and some of the scenes in this book will make your stomach turn.
Besides being an entertaining read, this book also gives the reader, a picture of contemporary Japan. Many people I talk to say they are interested in Japan because of its culture and stuff, but they know little about the modern society of Japan. This book gives the reader a look at a darker less ideal Japan.
Being of half-Japanese descent and having been to Japan twice, I remembered seeing a few seedy districts in the bigger cities and wondering what went on there, but knew to stay away. I am about the age of Kenji, the narrator (he is 20), and this book really offers interesting insight into the two cultures of Japan and The United States. In his relationship with Frank, Kenji learns many things about his own country. The book also offers an interesting look at the sex industry in Japan and the various people who inhabit it. It also offers an interesting look at those who kill others, and of course has an element of one of my favorite topics, the lonely man.
This book was one that I thought about when I wasn't reading it and kept me interested throughout. This book has a definite re-read value despite some of its thriller-ish aspects and really made me think about myself, my own culture, and helped me learn more about the Japanese way of thinking. This book is not for the faint of heart or the easily offended as there are viciously detailed depictions of violence and descriptions of the sex industry in Japan.
Most recent customer reviews
A pretentious and self-important exercise. Far too cute for it's own good and a meditation that keeps pounding the head of the reader... ok already; we get it! Read morePublished on June 9 2004
Tight, well-written thriller that takes you into the underworld of the sex industry in Shinjuku, Tokyo through the eyes of a tourist guide who gets involved with a psychopathic... Read morePublished on March 25 2004 by Neil MacLean
Do I have to give it one star? Well I did finish it. But YUCK! Double YU-UCK and NOT in a fun way. Ultra Passive narrator. Cliched
American psychopath. Read more