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Loups-Garous Paperback – 13 May 2010

3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 450 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media; Original edition (13 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1421532336
  • ISBN-13: 978-1421532332
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 3.3 x 13.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,244,377 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Natsuhiko Kyogoku was born in Otaru, Hokkaido, and studied at Kuwasawa Design School. After working at advertising agencies, he established his own design studio. He still works as an art director, designer and bookbinder for various projects. He is also an expert in yokai (Japanese folklore of monsters and ghosts).

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 30 Sept. 2012
Format: Paperback
Loups Garous is a very Japanese novel, and if you don't enjoy writers like Ryu Murakami then it probably won't appeal to you - it's very definitely NOT a standard supernatural story, even though it shares many of the same themes as the run-of-the-mill teenage werewolf coming-of-age tale.

The story takes place in the near future in Japan, when few people actually assemble in person and instead most communication takes place on screen. Children have full rights as individuals, and their `teachers' no longer educate in the traditional sense. Parents provide material resources only: many have little personal interaction with the children they house and feed. Humans are losing their natural ability to be intimate in person... and Loups Garous is an intriguing exploration of those aspects of society.
It's also the story of a series of murders which threaten a group of young people. Their efforts, initially to investigate and then to save themselves, demand that they extend their experience beyond their normal isolation. At the same time, an older police detective and one of their infuriatingly right-on tutors become embroiled in the investigation - challenging their own preconceptions while uncovering a much larger conspiracy.
It would be wrong to suggest that the action romps along. Indeed, there is very little action, and frequently important events are just reported, rather than experienced by the reader. Most of the book revolves around the dialogue between the protagonists, examining and unpicking the situation, gathering bytes of information and extrapolating possibilities from them. There are long passages of detailed self-examination and social commentary - if you've read Haruki Murakami's books then you'll be familiar with this style of writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By elephvant on 3 April 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I think this is probably a good (although not outstanding) piece of work from Natsuhiko Kyogoku. The plot, characters and setting all have interesting and original aspects to them and this definitely something a little bit different to your average murder mystery. However, the author's good work is lost due to the poor translation. It's not that there are errors, it's more just that it's very clunky and awkward with the translator often giving very literal representations of the original text that, while sounding fine in Japanese, jar in English. To give an example: the Japanese word 'usou' translates directly to English as 'lie'. While in English this (and 'liar') are quite harsh words, in Japanese they are often used to mean, 'really!?', 'you're kidding!' or 'I can't believe it' (as oppose to 'I DON'T believe YOU'). The translator keeps the literal translation giving several awkward moments where one character accuses another of being a liar, only for the conversation to continue without the accused responding. And this is just one (repeated) example, there are several other such moments and in general the whole text feels kind of stilted.

Which is a shame because as mentioned, I think this is an unusual and original work with a lot of merit. I can only hope the next offering from this author finds a better translator.
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Format: Paperback
According to the front-cover critique by Carrie Vaughn of the New York Times describing this book, "Loups-Garous shows us a weird future, complete with "A Clockwork Orange" style lingo that is scarier than the monsters". I don't know what book she was referring to but there is NO "A Clockwork Orange" style lingo anywhere to be found, NOR are there any monsters (of the werewolf kind anyway).
Although there is some justification for the reference to "a weird future", it is now no longer all that weird, as Natsuhiko Kyogoku himself admitted in an interview in 2009, eight years after the novel had been written. That it is set in the not-unusual world of a post-apocalyptic dystopian near-future so favoured by Japanese fantasy writers obviously puts it outside our immediate reality, but some of the other now not-so-futuristic elements (such as the complete de-socialisation of society & the near total use of hand-held electronic devices for all forms of communication) are an easily recognisable, & increasingly threatening, blight on society today. Another significant element to the story-arc is the apparent replacement of today's dominance of world governments (any one you want to choose on the planet) of the "Industrial/Military Complex" by an "Industrial/Synthetic Food Complex", which may yet become a reality in our world. The over-arching theme of the book - that "Big Brother is Watching You" - has, of course, been with us since George Orwell's prescient novel "1984", written 64 years ago.
I bought this book to read during a long & tedious flight from the UK to the US. About half-way across the Atlantic I gave up & asked the stewardess for enough free wine to put me to sleep for the rest of the flight.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Not what you'd expect 18 July 2010
By R. Getter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the U.S., this book is destined to fail.

What you're led to expect is a pulpy horror novel--werewolves, teenage girls, serial killers and a grizzled old cop fighting the system as much as he does crime.

What you get is something very different.

Lups-Garous is much closer to Herman Hesse's Steppenwolf than Universal Studio's Werewolf. It's an existential nightmare with the trappings of the occult set in a near future where human nature, rather than humanity, is struggling to survive.

The young main characters were born just after the end of a twentieth century that they considered decadent, dirty and licentious. They are content to exist in a solitary high-tech world sequestered mostly in homes that are clean, sealed and secure, occasionally venturing out to gather briefly in counseling and "communication" sessions at a local community center. School has given way to self-education and the family has been transformed into a convenient arrangement of guardians and caretakers. The country is close to achieving its ideal of being secure, perfectly ordered and perfectly clean. Even food has been completely replaced by abundant synthetic products--no dirt, no killing.

In spite of the fact that this is a culture where mutual dependence is as unthinkable as violent crime, an unlikely trio of girls, a counselor and a cop are brought together by a series of murders that are increasing in frequency and brutality. Ultimately, their survival depends on overcoming their fear and suspicion of each other (as well as their own true natures) to solve the mystery that is spiraling out to engulf each of their lives.

Like his other recently translated novel, The Summer of the Ubume, Kyogoku's Lups-Garous swings from the coldly cerebral to the deeply emotional. Unlike Ubume, the most important dialogs are internal than external. The story unfolds almost too slowly and the characters start out appearing as flat and colorless as they believe themselves to be. But the plot becomes profoundly complex and the momentum of the story builds to a spectacular and unexpected climax.

Kyogoku is one of the greatest mystery writers in a country that excels in that genre. His unique style may be an acquired taste for some readers, but the plotlines and characters that start out vague and complex will eventually take root and stay with you like the memory of your most unforgettable dreams.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent story, best if you don't translate the title first 26 Jun. 2012
By k. hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Excellent story, really riveting and keeps you engrossed in what is happening. I didn't translate the title until later and it was better that way. I also appreciated how it made me look at my tablet in a new way.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
The right elements, good intentions, but heavy-handed, belabored execution. Not recommended 20 Nov. 2013
By Juushika - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In the near future, humans, even children, communicate almost exclusively through computers; real world meetings are rare and state surveillance is common. This should make murder nearly impossible, but the serial killings of Japanese youth catch the interest of a group of female students, their counselor, and a wayward policeman. This is a murder mystery with supernatural themes and an intelligently constructed futuristic setting; the intent is strong but the execution is poor. What Loups-Garous lacks is immersion, a willingness to throw the reader into the story despite the strange setting. The world is thoughtfully developed but over-explained; like Glukhovsky's Metro 2033, almost all dialog is appropriated for detailed worldbuilding, and the awkward translation makes this even more clumsy and unbelievable. The plot has a satisfying complexity, but it's padded by so much exposition that the book is frequently a slog; the climax has better pacing but a comically large scale. What Loups-Garous does well is intriguing and even haunting: its supernatural elements are largely metaphors but they're effective ones, finding the animal that lingers within mankind's hyper-industrialized, artificial world. But the book needs to trust the reader, cut out a hundred pages, and let the world--and its demons--speak for themselves. As it is, I appreciate the effort but don't recommend Loups-Garous.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Loups-Garous 25 Jan. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Amazon only lets me give this 5 stars so...
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10 seems about right.
I very much enjoyed this book. Slow start but really good, fast finish. Love the characters.
No, this book isn't for everyone. A little cerebral in a semantic-philosophic way. But I sure would like a good Japanese production company to make this into an anime or a live-action movie. Not, God forbid, Hollywood and pleasepleaseplease not Disney, ever.
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