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Audrey Hepburn's Neck [Paperback]

Alan Brown
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 19 Sep 1996 --  

Book Description

19 Sep 1996

'Extraordinarily evocative of the mishmash of cultures and mores which is modern Japan ... Alan Brown captures, with great sympathy, the isolation of a man whose best friend is a wealthy, gay American, whose girlfriends are always American, but whose parents do not speak to one another, nor to him, and who have offered him no hint of his own history ... a lovely book. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it taught me lots I did not know about another country. You cannot ask much more of a novel' The Times

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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre; New Ed edition (19 Sep 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340659831
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340659830
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,140,365 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Alan Brown was born in Pennsylvania in 1950. In 1987 he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to go to Japan, where he lived until 1995, writing on culture for the Los Angeles Times and contributing travel articles for Travel and Leisure magazine. He also published a bi-lingual comic and was dialogue coach to the Japanese star in the Michael Douglas film Black Rain. Since 1990 he has been a cultural correspondent and programme host for BBC Radio 3.

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First Sentence
ACCORDING TO ITS BROCHURE, THE VERY ROMANTIC English Academy occupies the third and fourth floors of the Hysteric Glamour Building, upstairs from My Charming Home interior furnishing, a Hagen-Dazes ice cream parlor, and the Cherry Blossom Discount Camera Center, and is only a seven-minute walk up Dogenzaka Hill from Tokyo's Shibuya Station, where the Ginza, Hanzamon, Inokashira, Toyoko, Shin-Tamagawa and Yamanote train lines all converge on top of a Tokyo Department Store, two soba stands, the Love Bun German bakery and coffee bar, and a branch of Williams-Sonoma. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and fascinating 5 April 2001
By A Customer
A thrilling story, with a great twist at the end, that also provides a fantastic insight into modern Japan and its unsavoury history. A story of love and obsession, the search for who you are, the clash of two wildly different cultures - this novel is a little gem. If you like number9dream you'll love this (if you haven't read number9dream or Ghostwritten, then do so now!). Buy it and tell your friends to buy it - it's a classic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting title and book 4 Jan 2002
By A Customer
Despite the fact that the author trips over himself a little bit to show the depth of his knowledge of Japan, its recent history and the Japanese the story is great. It is chillingly sad at times and left me feeling desperately depressed at the iniquities of life and hollow at my powerlessness to correct the sufferings of the characters and those real people on whom part of the story is based.
Toshi, is a charming young boy turned man, perhaps like Hardy's Jude, with great imagination, dreams and talent, but is finding it hard to realise those goals, penned in as he is by the society in which he is born.
It is a really well written book, dragging the reader in to despair and then administering an injection of optimism. The depiction of a small boy trying to fathom out his parents' behaviour is beautifully crafted, as is the granny who provides some much needed guidance in Toshi's life.
Cluttered around this are the pointers which remind one that this is set in Japan. Though if this were the only book you ever read set in Tokyo, you'd be under the impression that earthquakes happened with greater force and with more frequency than you thought possible. He uses one big one in much the same manner as in Number 9 Dream and another allows two Sumo wrestlers to appear with walk on (or rather, walk on, fall over) parts. There is also a strange obsession with the (quite true) fact that the japanese don't eat foreign rice and the Imperial Family. Other ideosyncracies of Japanese life are mentioned, the baggy trousers the workmen wear and the way Japanese think foreigners are dirty for sitting in the bath water in which they have washed. Bubble era philosophies run rampant, everyone working to death and petting rented dogs ro reduce stress.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever satire on Japanese and Westerners 4 Dec 2000
By A Customer
Alan Brown's book has been unjustly neglected. It is a an entertaining novel set in Japan. Brown satirises the way Westerners view Japan and the Japanese view the outside world. The reader is drawn in by the humour of the book, but it turns much darker towards the end (I won't give away the plot).
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