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8 Reviews
5 star:
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4 star:
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3 star:
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2 star:
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Better than Bright Lights,Big City.
An excellent book if you like the idea of honour, tradition and a code of conduct that really means something. But why did it have to happen. Their are too many De-Vito's in the world and not enough Ransom-San's.
Published on 25 Nov. 1998

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The book I wanted to like but couldn't.
Although I am a fan of the author's sense of humor and writing style, I'm often kind of embarassed about sitting down to read another book about a brooding, sarcastic, over-privilidged, young, white male. Ransom is in line with all of the above, which as I previously admitted, I tend to enjoy (albeit abashedly). But each time I turned a page of Ransom, I felt like I...
Published on 24 Aug. 1998


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Better than Bright Lights,Big City., 25 Nov. 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Ransom (Flamingo) (Paperback)
An excellent book if you like the idea of honour, tradition and a code of conduct that really means something. But why did it have to happen. Their are too many De-Vito's in the world and not enough Ransom-San's.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The book I wanted to like but couldn't., 24 Aug. 1998
By A Customer
Although I am a fan of the author's sense of humor and writing style, I'm often kind of embarassed about sitting down to read another book about a brooding, sarcastic, over-privilidged, young, white male. Ransom is in line with all of the above, which as I previously admitted, I tend to enjoy (albeit abashedly). But each time I turned a page of Ransom, I felt like I was staring at a bad accident. Americans in Japan walking around wearing top knots, kimono and carrying swords? Come on! The author worked in every silly notion about Japan that Americans love to generalize and exaggerate. Bath houses, martial arts, poisonous blowfish, yakuza tattoos...McInerny threw them all into this one, allowing us not a glimpse of Japan but a cross between a bad James Clavell novel and a comic book. Of couse there were a few of those classic quips that you have to read twice so that you can quote them at "the right" moments. Beyond that, this book represents an adolescent, often insensitive few of Japan that, if it wasn't so laughable, would be completely disappointing.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In modern Japan, Ransom learns about karate, life, and death, 4 Feb. 1997
By A Customer
Jay McInerney does for karate what Robert Pirsig did for Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The book centers around the experiences of an American expatriate recovering from a tragic experience in the Himalayas. Ransom's chosen vehicle -- the study of karate under a sadistic sensei -- illuminates his own character and, through the use of flashbacks, how he became who he is. The book's slow and inevitable climax is no less intense for being utterly predictable. Well-written, by turns screamingly funny and achingly touching, this novel deserves a wider audience than it has.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard-faced, hard-edged, hard luck, 30 Aug. 1998
By A Customer
Strange, but as a story goes McInerney's insight into one young white American's alienation in Japan should have been a blinder, a corker...but it missed somehwat and became nothing more than jumped-up sci-fi in the East. None-the-less, I am slightly baffled that no other reviewer has seen fit to note one of the most breathtaking and surprising finales in modern writing. So much so, it saves the book from the chop.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting away from it all?, 14 Mar. 2002
Have you ever thought that if you just got rid of everything, packed your backpack and went away somewhere far from here, you might be able to make sense of your life? Find some deeper meaning in a foreign culture?
You can run but you can NEVER hide!
In my opinion, a book which should ring true to the so-called X- and Y-generation. It deals with troubled family relations, growing up and trying to find a sense of purpose in this 'material world'.
I read this book after having previously read Model Behaviour and Story Of My Life; which both were cynical and witty in that Douglas Coupland-way - but even fluffier and more easily read.
Although I enjoyed the two previous books, I think Ransom is a much more weighty and serious book. You will find some backbreaking humour in this one too, but the main story line is not in any way reliant upon these puns.
So, I guess what I am trying to tell you is:
read this book!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's well worth tracking down., 27 May 2000
This is the second novel by Jay McInerney, which is not yet published in the UK.
Having read all McInerney's other novels it comes as a surprise that this one is not set amongst the bright lights of New York. This is the story of Ransom, who has been living in Kyoto after travelling in Asia. It soon becomes obvious that he is trying to purge himself of a terrible event that happened on his travels. He takes up karate, lives a disciplined life, with only a few ex-pats for friends.
McInerney carefully draws the reader into the plot, gradually unfolding the drama from Ramon's past and present. Although his novels are usually set amongst the smart set, who it is often difficult to have any feelings for, that is not the case for the main character in this novel. I'm tempted to say the Ransom is one of the best, fully rounded characters McInerney has created. There is a supprising ending and I feel that this is one of his best novels, and would come as a pleasant surprise to those who only know "Bright Lights, Big City" and "The Story of My Success". It's well worth tracking down and baffling why it's the only one of the authors novels yet to be published in the UK.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A novel desperately in want of a plot, 18 May 1999
By A Customer
Mawkish yet self-deprecating, boring yet interesting, ineffectual yet captivating. This novel fits all categories. I could not shake off a feeling of disbelief at most of the side-plots, which, unfortunately, are so convoluted that they tend to obscure the main plot, if indeed there is one ... of which I am not sure. Ultimately, this is a novel as pointless as the protagonist's untimely demise. And yet, strangely enough, McInerney's humor and style do make it an amusing read. Just so long you ignore the fact that everything about this novel attempts to proclaim a vast depth of significance - but significance, and any real knowledge about Japan, are the very elements the reader is unlikely to find.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A disallusioned American discovers solace in karate., 15 May 1998
By A Customer
A twenty-something American searches for personal and philosophical meaning when he travels to the orient. After first-hand experiences with drugs and meaningless, unfulfilling, and disjointed lessons of foreign culture and philosophy, he heads home for the states. However, traveling through Japan, he becomes intrigued with an honest devotion to heritage, discipline, and underlying beauty of karate and minimalism as a path to enlightenment. Blended into the daily life of Ransom is a humor that is more unusual than any I have ever read. This one of a few books that I have used as a benchmark in my thinking, a book that I have bought for at least ten people. I am saddened that no movie was ever produced.
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Ransom
Ransom by Jay McInerney (Paperback - 15 Jan. 2007)
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