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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Japanese noir...
I must admit to having read very little Japanese crime fiction, but drawn by a cover quote from Natsuo Kirino, the author of the remarkable `Out', I was immediately hooked by this bijou slice of Japanese noir. Centred on the criminal activities of pickpocket, Nishimura, this is a at times shocking, but poignant tale of the seedy underbelly of Tokyo. Nishimura spends his...
Published on 29 Nov 2012 by Raven

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who stole the end?
I don't know if it's supposed to a clever postmodernist twist, but somebody seems to have stolen the ending of 'The Thief'. The story is a first person narrative, and whilst the novel's conclusion doesn't quite break the number one rule of first person narratives, it ends in such a way to leave the reader bewildered as to how the story could ever have come be told. It's...
Published on 16 Aug 2012 by Quicksilver


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4.0 out of 5 stars Very clever book, 2 Oct 2012
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This review is from: The Thief (Kindle Edition)
A compelling story of an extremely unhappy man and his personal quest for redemption and wow what an ending. wow
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4.0 out of 5 stars Literary noir, 20 Sep 2012
By 
GW (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Thief (Hardcover)
The Thief is a pretty quick read. But that's not to say that it's slight, as it very much isn't. It's as much a character piece as it is a crime thriller, with some beautiful writing. Told in the first person by the eponymous Thief, we get an insight into his mind as well as his practices.

The Thief often describes his pickpocketing techniques in great detail. Some may find it a little over the top, but The Thief is actually a very thoughtful, lonely, haunted man - he doesn't need to focus on his pickpocketing at all, it comes so naturally (sometimes he finds a wallet or a watch that he doesn't even remember taking), so his conscious thoughts turn to more profound matters.

The tone of the novel is a sort of literary noir. Meditation comes at the expense of plot (although there is an exciting sequence towards the end of the book), so readers after a more traditional crime novel be warned. But The Thief is an elegant, engrossing novel and is certainly a crime story in that it reflects on the meaning of crime and theft and of living life outside social conventions.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mired in Ennui, 23 May 2012
By 
A. Ross (Washington, DC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Thief (Kindle Edition)
Despite being regularly underwhelmed by Japanese crime fiction, I continue to pick it up in the hopes of finding a writer or story that clicks. Unfortunately, this book proved to be another dud. The story follows a highly talented pickpocket who meets up with an old friend/criminal and gets sucked into a scheme masterminded by a mysterious man. He is made the proverbial offer he can't refuse -- a series of increasingly difficult thefts that he must complete or he will be killed. This could theoretically work as the plot of a neo-noir thriller, except that the pickpocket is such a cipher that there's nothing for the reader to connect with. Like a lot of protagonists I seem to come across in Japanese crime fiction, he's a loner mired in his own sense of ennui. A subplot introduces a young boy whom he half-heartedly mentors and protects, but that comes across mainly as sentimental window-dressing. There's a lot of wallowing in existentialism, and conundrums about the nature and role of fate, and none of it says anything interesting. I could see how it might work much better as a stylish film, where the craft of the pickpocket can come more alive and the emptiness at its core can be given some visual heft, but I surely can't recommend this book. A better use of one's time would be to read Crime and Punishment and watch Robert Bresson's 1959 film, Pickpocket.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Perp Empathy, 28 Mar 2012
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This review is from: The Thief (Kindle Edition)
Unfortunately I had none for the thieving little oik. This novella isn't a patch on Genet or Papillion. It could be set in any country amongst people that don't care about themselves let alone others. Yet year after year this type of little novel gets good reviews. No idea why. The fact that I spent time reading it depressed me no end. So glad when it ended. The story is basically only fools and horses without the comedy or the love or the strong characterisation.
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The Thief
The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura (Hardcover - 16 Aug 2012)
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