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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream debut
Warm and attractive, super-readable debut novel by Jonathan Lee (JL) about top photographer Rob Fossick (RF), whose life came to a standstill after the accidental death of his wife Chloe and their unborn child. Four years later, surviving on mind-soothing pills and royalties, RF sees his demented mother literally drop dead in front of him during a visit. Another mental...
Published on 15 Mar 2012 by P. A. Doornbos

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Vanilla
Who is Mr Satoshi? I'm not sure I ever really cared, but for all the mystery that this novel would like to have, it seems to have been given away very early on.

Jonathan Lee tells a story of Foss, a photographer recovering from personal tragedy, dealing with his mother's dying wish that he deliver some enveloped to a former sweetheart who went by the name of...
Published on 7 Dec 2011 by MisterHobgoblin


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream debut, 15 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
Warm and attractive, super-readable debut novel by Jonathan Lee (JL) about top photographer Rob Fossick (RF), whose life came to a standstill after the accidental death of his wife Chloe and their unborn child. Four years later, surviving on mind-soothing pills and royalties, RF sees his demented mother literally drop dead in front of him during a visit. Another mental blow.
Sorting out her belongings, RF finds intriguing letters, then remembers her talking about a Mr. Satoshi or Reggie, who should receive a certain parcel, which RF also finds.
Readers will enjoy this book full of paralyzing sorrow and RF's efforts to deliver the parcel to "Reggie" or Mr. Satoshi, who might be still alive (at 80) and still be living in Japan. Also, RF's photo agent wants him to return to his old form and sends him a ticket to Tokyo with an open return. What happens in Japan is a tale for readers to enjoy.
This is a search book. Its plot is smart, the novel rich in symbolism and metaphor, beautifully written with good dialogue. JL shifts gears every now and then, a rare pleasure. But it is the characters who really stand out: panic-prone RF, his mother in her young and final years, her long-time lady friend Freddie. The Japanese cast is well portrayed, esp. Chiyoko, the pink haired literature student/receptionist of a love hotel and its owner, a gay ex-sumo wrestler who idolizes Dolly Parton. In this novel even minor characters come alive.
Jonathan Lee's final gift is not telling all, leaving readers to ponder all possible outcomes. Eminently re-readable and discussable novel for book clubs. Hope Jonathan Lee will make writing his trade.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, 7 Nov 2011
By 
Whatchamacallit (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
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I was surprised to find that this is the first novel from Jonathan Lee as it reads so well, and I could easily have believed the author to be more accomplished. The story of one man's search to find his mother's lover following her death is actually far more amusing than it sounds, but at the same time it is very touching. I really enjoyed the interesting characters and it became a book that I looked forward to picking up again as it was easy to read and yet compelling at the same time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly brilliant, 9 Oct 2011
By 
Laura Smith (Manchester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
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I ordered this book as it is partly set in Japan, a country that holds great fascination for me. I didn't really know much else about the book, so I was very surprised to find such a great story. The main character, Rob, is vunerable and reclusive, having lost his pregnant wife some years back, and then suddenly losing his elderly mother. He's in a bad place and retiring into his shell. His mother has left behind a mystery package addressed to Mr Satoshi, which she wants him to deliver, and circumstances conspire to send him to Japan, where he searches for the elusive Mr Satoshi using clues from old leters of his mothers, whilst also trying to rediscover his photography mojo. In Japan, he meets Chiyoko, who takes him under her wing and helps in his search.
Not only a great story, but very touching and the way Rob deals with his grief and his problems is quite beautiful. I found this book to be moving and heartrending, whilst still being a great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Voice in the World of Literature., 26 July 2011
By 
lovemurakami "tooty2" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
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Who is Mr Satoshi? you may ask yourself and my answer would be why not give this debut novel a try, I somehow don't think you'll be disappointed in your purchase. For a debut novel, Jonathan Lee has produced a rather good modern piece of literature. There are moments of masterful writing and plotting (I'm not saying it's at this standard all of the way through) but this is an emotionally charged piece of writing.

It begins with Foss, a photographer who witnesses his mother's death and in it's wake he finds himself on a journey taking him from London to Japan but also on a journey of re-awakening for himself. When we meet him, Foss is an emotionally crippled man who depends upon drugs to get him through both waking and sleeping hours. His life has had some tragic moments and he has withdrawn from humanity in order to protect himself and to cut himself off emotionally. However, his mother leaves him a mission to complete which takes him to Tokyo and on doing this he is forced to connect again with the world.

The writing is strong, the plot works and as a reader you do achieve a connection with this emotional wreck of a character. If you love modern fiction, a great read or Japan, this is well worth reading, you can tell that Jonathan Lee is accustomed to Japan and its' people and there are some small references to how the country and its people are unique. Great read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read, highly recommended, 17 July 2011
This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
This book instantly draws you into the world of the main character and in a way that makes you want to stay with him and not put the book down. The writing is rich and beautiful and even though the story is set on a sad premise it is has observational comedy throughout which had me laughing out loud.

Treat yourself to this is a book. It's one to be savoured and not rushed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and involving, 26 Jun 2011
By 
Sid Nuncius (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
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I enjoyed this book very much. It is very well written and has plenty of interesting things to say.

The story is of a traumatised and damaged man who finds a letter to "Mr Satoshi" after the death of his mother and is persuaded to go to Japan to try and find him and deliver the letter. Writing in the first person, Jonathan Lee manages to immerse us in this world and I think he is quietly insightful about his protagonist's response to trauma and psychiatric drugs. He tells a well-paced story full of believable, often likeable characters and generates a fine sense of mystery. I also thought that he was very insightful about the loss, melancholy, hope and redemption in human lives. Lee is also very skilful in painting a portrait of Japanese society. This forms a vivid and memorable backdrop to the story but is never intrusive and I never felt that he was lecturing or showing off how much he knew.

I found this book thoughtful, involving and memorable in spite of what I think is an off-putting title. Warmly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Debut, 16 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Hardcover)
This is a superb book. Moving, funny, bitter-sweet; always compelling.

"A blurry flash of her blue raincoat emerged from the tunnel, a blob of minty toothpaste squeezed from its tube."

The author has a Fleming-like knack for story telling, and a turn of phrase reminiscent of Amis.

Get this book - you won't put it down. Lee is definitely an author to watch. More please.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely debut novel!, 22 Oct 2010
This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Hardcover)
Central to the story is Foss, a talented photographer who has withdrawn from society; his creative juices in a state of limbo since the tragic loss of his wife. Who is Mr Satoshi, draws Foss from the comforts of his broken down reclusive life in England, and thrusts him on a plane to Japan to help solve a mystery left by his own mothers death. In fact, it's on the very day she dies, that his mother leaves a package for one Mr Satoshi, advising that it must be delivered to him, somehow. A slight problem though, no-one has Mr Satoshi's address. You sense the wheels of change slowly turning for Foss from that day as you join him on a rollercoaster ride from London to Tokyo to Hokkaido, with a number of colourful local characters in tow.

Without revealing too much, I will say that within Foss' story there is a gem of a bittersweet love from a bygone era which will touch your heart. Yes, a few tears were shed. I read this entire book in one sunday evening and couldn't sleep until I finished it. I had to know, did he find Mr Satoshi? Book reviews are subjective but what I do when I finish a book is ask myself this question. Would I read it again? -Yes, absolutely.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, engaging first novel, 28 July 2011
By 
ian m farrell (Wilnecote Tamworth, Staffs United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Paperback)
Let me start by saying that my daughter (aged 3) is obsessed with this book! She has picked it up on a number of occasions and `read' to it from me (it seemed to be about car journeys and picnics!), she has been running round the house answering only to `Mrs Matoshi' and has insisted that I read some of it to her! Never has she been so taken by one of my books, although I must add that the feeling is mutual!

Car journeys and picnics it is NOT about. What it IS about is a world-weary, reclusive photographer, Rob Fossick, who is in his forties when his mother dies from a fall. She has left a mysterious parcel addressed to Mr Satoshi and seems to have been very insistent that it be sent to him. It seems that Mr Satoshi is an English expat living in Japan who was his mother's childhood sweetheart and the mystery surrounding him provides the momentum Foss needs to begin to break out of his life of seclusion. He journeys to Japan, determined to find Mr Satoshi and carry out his mother's last request.

This is a beautifully written novel about the past and how it impacts on the present. Lee manages to weave several mysteries into the story, giving it momentum and pace, although not at the expense of the quality of the writing. You are totally drawn into the mind of troubled Foss; you feel his pain, anxieties and neuroses all too acutely. Japan and its people come to life on the page, from the frenetic downtown area of Tokyo with its crowds and neon landscape to the fish market and knife shop in Sapporo. The colourful local characters are wonderful; Chiyoko, the MA student with bright pink hair and Daisuke, the gay ex-sumo wrestler with a penchant for all things Dolly Parton, are convincingly drawn and nowhere does Lee descend into cliché or stereotype.

Lee has written a wonderful, accomplished first novel. It deals with important issues, like truth, grief and redemption, with subtlety and skill. It had me laughing and crying and left me ultimately very satisfied. Except in one thing. Being a first novel, I know I am going to have to wait a long time for novel number two!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent first novel, 14 July 2010
By 
D. Harris (Oxford, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Who is Mr Satoshi? (Hardcover)
It becomes clear early on that the title might better be "Where is Mr Satoshi?" We learn quite quickly who he is (sort of). Where he has gone, what he means to the central character, Foss, and why Foss's mother Alice leaves a parcel to be delivered to Satoshi in Tokyo - all this doesn't emerge so quickly.

The slow unwinding of those details is one of the joys of the book. Delivering it tales Foss on a journey to Japan, and into himself. I found it hard to empathise with Foss at first. He's suffered a loss which has impaired him, as a human being and as a photographer. His response to life is to swallow pills by the handful. His agent batters on the door, imploring him to get out and take pictures again. The reader (or anyway this reader) batters at him, imploring him to act. He doesn't take much notice of either, until jolted by that mysterious package. We do, though, come to appreciate Foss's point of view and to sympathise with him though, nearly to the end, he remains a bit irritating.

This is an excellent book. At its heart is a mystery. What happened to Satoshi in Japan in 1946? What has it to do with Foss's mother? Some of this I guessed, but not all. Lee's feeding of information through chance finds of letters and documents keeps the story moving nicely, though the way they are found in the correct order does make it a little like a Sunday treasure hunt! My only other criticism would be that in places the language is slightly overwrought, as though it's trying slightly too hard. I'm not sure though if that's a deliberate device to represent Foss's state of mind - and I'm eagerly looking forward to a second book from Lee to settle this!
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Who is Mr Satoshi?
Who is Mr Satoshi? by Jonathan Lee (Hardcover - 1 July 2010)
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