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Strangers Paperback – 20 Jan 2005

35 customer reviews

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Paperback, 20 Jan 2005
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Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber (20 Jan. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571224369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571224364
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 908,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Memorably uncanny … the powerful mood of Strangers lingers well after its graceful, downbeat ending has passed.' -- Guardian

'Restrained and moving … what might have been a simple ghost story evolves into a psychologically acute portrait.' -- Daily Telegraph

‘A ghost story of the highest order.’ -- David Mitchell, Indpendent on Sunday

‘Yamada has really hit the spot with this, his English-language debut … sparsely written, beautifully atmospheric, wonderfully creepy.' -- Good Book Guide

Book Description

'A cerebral and haunting ghost story ... Highly recommended.' David Mitchell

--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ms. Victoria Harvey on 29 April 2009
Format: Paperback
Strangers is a short book, no more than 200 hundred pages, and on 1st glance you would be wrong to assume that it did not hold much hope.

The book is translated and once you have got over the awkwardness of the translation and start to feel comfortable with the names of the characters the story drags you in and won't let you go till the very end.

This is a believable ghost story, which is very hard to find these days. The story is set around the main character that is a forty something recently divorced script writer in Tokyo. He is living in his 7th floor office apartment having lost his family home to his wife and son.
Through loneliness and depression he unites with an attractive 33 year old lady who is the only other live in occupant on the 3rd floor.

In the mean time he is pulled to visit the town of his childhood where he lost both of his parents at the tender age of 12. While there he visits a music hall, and meets a man who looks just like his dead father, he goes home with this man and meets his wife who looks just like his dead mother.

The story is then all about what the main character thoughts are every time he meets his dead parents, how easily he accepts them when he is with them and how logic takes over when he alone. At the same time how other areas of his life change, his new relationship, his estranged wife and child and even his friends.

There is a chilling twist at the end, which I can honestly say I did not see coming, I was kept me gripped right till the last page. I would highly recommend it. My only criticism is that I want more!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By MisterHobgoblin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
Although this is ostensibly a ghost story, it fits the genre of mystery more easily than the genre of horror.

The narrator, Harada, is a recently divorced TV script writer, coming to terms with his loneliness. He is deadpan and analytical in his delivery. Some of the phrasing does seem a little staccatto - and I see that another reviewer found the sentences rather complicated. I agree. It reminded me, if anything, of Sheridan LeFanu's victorian gothic mysteries - written at a time where ghosts were to be investigated and understood rather than feared.

The storyline is certainly odd: Harada meets up with his long dead parents and visits them for tea. Although he knows it to be wrong, his curiosity drives him on. Meanwhile, the rest of his life and relationships rapidly take a turn for the worse. The novel (novella?) perhaps suffers from brevity. With more space, the characters might have been enlarged a little, and perhaps the narrator made a little more likable; a little warmer. Having said that, the story does move on apace and this takes attention away from the lack of empathy with Harada.

The cover talks of a bizarre twist. I'm not sure it is really a twist - it is pretty obvious from early on that something is not quite right. One is left guessing what exactly it is that is out of kilter and I suppose the revelation does have some element of surprise. It's hardly a twist on the scale of The Crying Game, though.

Overall, the book was a good read. It managed to hold my interest but without being exceptional. I don't think I gained much insight into either Japan or the supernatural but at the same time, it was as good a way as any of passing a Sunday afternoon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Simon Savidge Reads on 30 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
Middle aged, uninspired and divorced Harada has just moved into a new building complex. Strangely hardly anyone else has instead using it mainly for office space leaving him and one other person in the building during the nights. The other permanent tenant is Can Kei a strange woman who screams of mystery and seems highly depressed and hiding a huge scar.

One day Harada is watching comedy whiling away the hours he can't script write when he sees his father, who has been dead for years. Soon enough they strike up conversation and before he knows it he is eating dinner inside a flat his dead parents are living in, they haven't aged they look just like they did when they died. This reappearance soon starts to affect his health and the life seems to be being drained from him, but being such a loner who can help, can the strange loner Can Kei possibly be the one to save his soul?

I have to say I really enjoy Chinese and Japanese fiction and this though a slightly slow starter became a gripping and quite dark and frightening novel with an ending that I wouldn't have guessed in a million years... well I might have. If you like films like `The Ring' then this thriller meets ghost story should be right up your street. A great short satisfying modern ghost story.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
This is an absorbing book of a gentle supernatural story with an unexpected ending. Some reviewers have said that the ending was obvious but it wasn't to me so I really enjoyed it. It's not a fast-paced thriller or horror story, I would describe it as more of a mystery that builds slowly. It has a feeling of sadness and explores relationships and loss.

The book gives some perception of Japanese lifestyle but it's not a book where you would learn a huge amount about Japanese culture especially as the translation is rather Americanised, I imagine to appeal to the US market? It does seem at odds to the characters although I did try and ignore it and just get on with the story.

I've just read After Dark by Haruki Murakami and this is rather similar in feel with a mysterious story. I preferred Yamada's book as it had a stronger story and more solid ending. If you enjoyed this book and you'd like an even less concrete and more mysterious story then I'd definitely recommend After Dark.
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