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Sixty-Nine [Paperback]

Ryu Murakami , Ralph McCarthy
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 8.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

9 May 2013

Murakami's 69, a side-splittingly funny coming-of-age novel set in the Japan of the sixties

In a small, inconsequential city in Japan, all that matters to 17-year-old Kensuke Yazaki and his friends is girls, rock music and, to a much lesser extent, school. Told at high speed and with irresistible humour by Kensuke himself, this is the story of their 1969, as they engage in heated conversations about Marxism, Rimbaud, Godard, the Beatles and the Stones, set up a barricade in their school, organise a rock festival and map out a highly successful strategy in girl-winning.
This is a young Japan entirely turned towards the West, pervaded by Western music, where the girls have nicknames pulled from famous British films, but still locked in a fight with the rigid post-war conservatism of the older generation.

Translated from the Japanese by Ralph McCarthy and published by Pushkin Press

'A light, rollicking, sometimes hilarious, but never sentimental picture of late-sixties Japan.'

Library Journal

'A great deal of fun, and Murakami ... is a find.'

Kirkus Reviews

'The hero is a thoroughly engaging smartass.'

Los Angeles Times

A superb and very funny bluffer, and one sympathizes with him all the way.

Atlantic Monthly

'A cross between The Catcher and the Rye and The Strawberry Statement.'

Review of Contemporary Fiction

Born in 1952 in Nagasaki prefecture, Ryu Murakami is the enfant terrible of contemporary Japanese literature. Awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 1976 for his first book, a novel about a group of young people drowned in sex and drugs, he has gone on to explore with cinematic intensity the themes of violence and technology in contemporary Japanese society. His novels include Coin Locker Babies, Sixty-Nine, Popular Hits of the Showa Era, Audition, In the Miso Soup and From the Fatherland, with Love. Murakami is also a screenwriter and a director; his films include Tokyo Decadence, Audition and Because of You.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pushkin Press; New edition (9 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190896846X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1908968463
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.8 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 550,183 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Born in 1952 in Nagasaki prefecture, Ryu Murakami is the enfant terrible of contemporary Japanese literature. Awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 1976 for his first book, a novel about a group of young people drowned in sex and drugs, he has gone on to explore with cinematic intensity the themes of violence and technology in contemporary Japanese society. His novels include Coin Locker Babies, Sixty-Nine, Popular Hits of the Showa Era, Audition, In the Miso Soup and From the Fatherland, with Love. Murakami is also a screenwriter and a director; his films include Tokyo Decadence, Audition and Because of You.



Photo credits: Joi Ito

Product Description

About the Author

Born in 1952 in Nagasaki prefecture, Ryu Murakami is the enfant terrible of contemporary Japanese literature. Awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 1976 for his first book, a novel about a group of young people drowned in sex and drugs, he has gone on to explore with cinematic intensity the themes of violence and technology in contemporary Japanese society. His novels include Coin Locker Babies, Sixty-Nine, Popular Hits of the Showa Era, Audition, In the Miso Soup and From the Fatherland, with Love. Murakami is also a screenwriter and a director; his films include Tokyo Decadence, Audition and Because of You.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not memorable 13 Jan 2014
Format:Paperback
This novel took me a long time to get into. When I first bought it many many months ago, I bought it based on its chapter titles, the review on the cover, and the fact that I really enjoy Japanese literature. However, a couple of chapters in, I realized that this book is not as entertaining or as meaningful as its synopsis claimed it would be, and I put it aside in favour of another book. Months later, I decided to go back to reading this book.

1969, what a fascinating year that was in history, and yet Ken's outlook on it was nothing more than amusing. The protagonists rambling goes on for pages as he allows you to get inside of his head, but I found nothing that really inspired me. I chuckled now and again, but for the most part, I found his thoughts tiring and quite immature to tell you the truth - for someone trying to rebel and start a revolution at school (to impress a girl) that is.

I was actually more interested in the development of his friend Adama. Now that's a character that I found poignant, with interesting thoughts and ideas. His progression in the book from the popular, good looking, smart student to the good looking, troubled, rebellious outcast was fascinating. I would've liked to learn more about him and to have had him play a much more prominent part in the book.

Alas, we get stuck with Ken, a self-pitying troublemaker. A typical teenager, with typical teen woes. I've read that this was a Japanese take on Catcher in the Rye, and I have to say that this was nothing like it. A failed attempt if anything.

An amusing read about a teenager and his superficial problems. Read it, if that's the sort of thing you're looking for.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Most like his brother 19 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ryu never quite reaches the peaks that Haruki does, but he comes closest here. This book is a lovely evocation of the tension and the confusion as Japan reached the end of the 1960s.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 23 Jun 2013
By kjartan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I normally don't write reviews, but seeing that this great book has got none, made me change my mind. What to say? Great read. Loved this book!
3 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wannabe Catcher in the Rye 4 Aug 2001
By yuki - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It's not half as poignant or meaningful as the review on the cover makes it sound. Exactly like all the other books of Ryu that I've read--a lightwieght amusement, nothing more. The book had great promise, albeit an unfulfilled one. And I don't think that the translation is the problem--I've read the Korean version, and because Korean and Japanese have almost the same language structure, translating tends to be easy and exact. Actually, the translation was very good and the humorous word play and black humour came through as very fun indeed. But nothing else really gripped me. The protagonist's rambling struck me as too ordinary (you'll see my meaning if you've been in a Korean or Japanese school once--everyone talks about everything like Ryu does) and self-pitying. And since nothing except the word play was of any interest, that made me think--if that didn't survive the translation, there's probably nothing worth reading anyway. So choose this book with caution. Don't expect too much, or you'll be disappointed. Sorta like a Wannabe Catcher in the Rye but without the insight or meaning.
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