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4.0 out of 5 stars Affecting study of loneliness
Cutting through this short, punchy novel are themes we will all recognise - isolation, frustration, desire. The sparse but pacey translation delivers to the reader a sense of familiar unrest, whether it is frustration at work or a desire to be something more than we are.

Journalist Rei, losing a battle to keep her mind stable and herself sober, follows a...
Published on 5 Feb 2009 by Wordy

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Vibrator.
Very abstract and different. Can be quite difficult to understand the first time around -- needs a read or two to grasp the true concept of the book. A good read but not one I'd recommend to all.
Published on 14 Jun 2010 by Daisy


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4.0 out of 5 stars Affecting study of loneliness, 5 Feb 2009
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This review is from: Vibrator (Paperback)
Cutting through this short, punchy novel are themes we will all recognise - isolation, frustration, desire. The sparse but pacey translation delivers to the reader a sense of familiar unrest, whether it is frustration at work or a desire to be something more than we are.

Journalist Rei, losing a battle to keep her mind stable and herself sober, follows a 'vibration' that urges her to take off with a random trucker she spies at a convenience store. What follows is a stark and sexually charged road trip across wintry Japan which sees Rei's world dissolve and resolve as her volatile mental state rushes like street lights past a truck window.

Vibrator is a brief, explicit and honest portrayal of detachment and the difficulty inherent in fulfilling wishes not well understood.

Recommended.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Though "Vibrator" is originally a Japanese novel,, 9 Oct 2004
This review is from: Vibrator (Paperback)
it seems an English one. I read this work in Japanese six years ago. The wording is far from ordinary Japanese. In fact, the author Mari Akasaka, late thirties, has supent her adolescence in the United States, so she commands English. We can find many English-nesses in the work.
In the kingdom of the novel, a kind of white noise as "vibrations" which visually and tactilly other than aurally attacks the chasracters such as Rei Hayakawa and the teamster. Rei is a freelance journalist, who is nearly always surrounded with several kinds of "vibrations" that causes stresses in the society. One day, she cannot help controling her desire to escape from such noises. At the same time, the road jockey picks her in his truck. She feels at home with him in his motorlorry because it gives her other "vibrations" which causes ease for her.
They travel from Tokyo to Niigata, where is located on the coast of the Japan sea. Through the journey, they experience many types of "vibrations."
My native tongue is Japanese, so I can't give you a good explanation on "Vibrator." I admit this. But, This Mari Akasaka's book will never let you down. Buy and read or, you will surely regret.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Vibrator., 14 Jun 2010
This review is from: Vibrator (Paperback)
Very abstract and different. Can be quite difficult to understand the first time around -- needs a read or two to grasp the true concept of the book. A good read but not one I'd recommend to all.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "dirty realism" and "fairy tale" in one book?, 13 July 2007
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This review is from: Vibrator (Paperback)
There is a myth that truckers in Japan can pick up girls at their stops - which might sound like fun until you try to think of it from the girls point of view - surely they would either have to be pretty desperate to get somewhere, simply desperate, or slightly out of their minds!

In the case of this story, the latter is true. On the surface Rei is an intelligent, functioning freelance journalist, underneath she hears voices, has an eating disorder, has abused alcohol and drugs, and the vibrations are something which also happens in her head. (Sorry to disappoint, but there is no 'vibrator!') So her story is disturbing for a lot longer than it is sexy! There is an effort to reach out: "I want to touch someone," but to me the road trip is more a form of escapism. In fact the whole book is an invitation for the readers to escape their daily hum-drum routines. The way the driver copes with the girl coming to pieces confirms to me an element of fantasy overcoming the "dirty realism."

The settings and sensibilities are Japanese - there is exposure to troubled Japanese youth who fail to cope with modern pressures and expectations. (Don't be fooled - in reality most cope pretty well, and books like this are part of the release.) That said, I don't think there is anything that would confuse a Western audience.... more sad than shocking.

There seems a rash of new writers from Japan - well marketed and presented, enticing and exciting - are they more than mild porn? I guess this is only an extension of the tradition in Japan, thinking back to authors like Ryu Murikari who must have shocked a few people in the 70's, and many of the classics, both modern and ancient, did not shy away from the subject of sex.

Is it any good? Would you want this girl in the cab of your lorry? For me the writing is fine and I have no problem with the contents.... but in the end I'm going to mark it down because it does not add up to more than the sum of its parts. A glossy magazine type book. But by all means, give it a go....!
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Failed to turn me on, 10 May 2009
This review is from: Vibrator (Paperback)
Vibrator's bold cover is both confrontational and suggestive; unfortunately what lies inside is cheap titillation dressed-up as challenging prose. Later made into a (apparently!) tawdry and frankly appalling film, this is one to miss.
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Vibrator by Mari Akasaka (Paperback - 16 Mar 2006)
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