Sunday, October 25, 2009

Review: Strangers by Taichi Yamada

Strangers
I spotted this book on another book blog and was instantly intrigued. Part of the intrigue lay in the fact that the blogger hadn't actually written an English review--only one in Dutch!

Anyway, I got a copy rather quickly and devoured it the day after the readathon. Which is saying something, I think.

Strangers takes place in Tokyo and is the story of an aging TV scriptwriter who has just finalized his divorce with his wife. Left a bit poorer as a result, he has moved into his office as it's the only place he can afford. Most people use the apartments as offices and the story opens with our narrator feeling the building is unusually quiet.

On his birthday, he decides on a whim to go back to Asakusa, the place of his childhood home. He hasn't been there since his parents died in a tragic accident when he was still quite young. While there, he sees a man who is the spitting image of his father. Is it his father? And if so, how did he get there without aging a day?

Strangers drew me in immediately with it's strange atmosphere and somewhat tragic voice of Harada. Throughout the story, I certainly had my own suspicions about what was happening and what was going on, but I just couldn't stop turning the pages. I took a short break to do some shopping, and longed to get back to the book. And even after turning the last page, I was still thinking about it. Yes, on the surface this is a ghost story, but I really just think it's so much more than that. It's a story about loneliness and isolation, it's a story about putting the past to rest so the future has a chance. In fact, it's a heart twisting portrait of the way the past drains us until we let it go.

This isn't really a scary read, though there is an overall eerie factor to it, but it is a worthwhile one. I think I will be thinking about it for a long time to come.

Ratings: 4.5/5
Things You Might Want to Know: ghosts. oh and a very very very little bit of sex.
Source of Book: I bought a used copy on Amazon.
Publisher: Vertical




Amy

14 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

I bought a copy of this after seeing rave reviews. I have since seen a few bad reviews, so it looks as though this is one of those books you either love or hate! I look forward to finding out which side of the fence I'm on!

Beth F said...

Well if this part is true: "This isn't really a scary read, though there is an overall eerie factor to it" I can handle it. I'm not good with scary. Interesting that you were attracted to the book based on an English summary and a Dutch review!

jennysbooks said...

I've had this on my list for a while - thanks for the nudge to pick it up. I either didn't know or had forgotten that it was a ghosty story. I looove ghost stories. :)

bermudaonion said...

This sounds haunting - like one of those books that linger in the back of your mind for a while. I'm intrigued by the story and the setting.

Britt said...

Sounds interesting. Not usually my thing, but I can handle eerie. :D

Charley said...

I'm intrigued.

heidenkind said...

This does sound like an intriguing read! I love ghost stories, and the setting of Japan is great.

Bart's Bookshelf said...

Tried reading this one last year, but I just couldn't get into it :( Glad to see you liked it though!

Nymeth said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Amy! I loved how the story portrayed loneliness and isolation and loss, but sadly the...thing that happens at the end kind of ruined it for me :(

mel u said...

I read Strangers about 6 weeks ago-over all I liked it-I liked how it showed how the dead can impinge on the living-I found the woman character in the apartment building to be sort of unneeded and maybe was added to give the book some sex scenes (mild ones) and a bit more of a horror feel-over all I liked it and would read another work by the author

Teddy Rose said...

I saw it first on Nymeth`s blog and added it to my TBR. I hope I enjoy as much as the both of you did.

Jenny Girl said...

Leave it to you to discover a gem from a review written in another language. You have excellent web skills girl! Sounds like a thrilling read, and definitely something for a read-a-thon.
Thanks for recommendation

Debbie's World of Books said...

This sounds like an interesting read! Great review.

S. Krishna said...

Wow, this book really sounds great. Thanks for the review.

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