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3.7 out of 5 stars9
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 4 February 2002
In the 1970s there developed in Japan a very disturbing trend whereby young mothers would abandon newborn babies in coinlockers. Most of the babies died. Coin Locker Babies is the story of two who survive. Adopted and raised as brothers, their lives are, nevertheless, fated to diverge quite alarmingly and not entirely happily. The bulk of the novel is set in a semi-real Tokyo, the surreal addition being the existence of 'Toxitown', an area so polluted that the authorities relocated all its residents and shut it off from the outside world, only for the underclasses to move in and set up residence. The underbelly of Tokyo is suddenly concentrated in one location and a fair chunk of the action takes place here. Murukami, one of Japan's most renowned modern authors, considers much of the weirdness and conflict of modern Japan, with a particular emphasis on sexuality (bisexuality and homosexuality receiving far more treatment than any other Japanese novel I have read, and certainly portrayed as far more open and prevalent than is actually the case in contemporary Japan), but there is a strong surreal and psychological streak to the work. Coin Locker Babies contains much that is entertaining, even educational, but is, in the end, a tragedy with a somewhat abrupt ending that will probably leave most readers faintly dissatisfied, a sentiment one is rather unhappy with, given the overall excellence of the bulk of the work. Recommended, nevertheless.
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on 11 December 2001
I don't know about the english translation, but i can say that the french one is not bad, and that it is an apocalyptic view of japan, a bit cyber, with those strange feelings that you can't explain. The most achieved of murakamis books. But I prefer Totally Transparent Blue. (sorry for the mistakes, but i don't write english perfectly.
Julian
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on 9 November 2013
Having read all of Murakami`s other books, this his first i believe i read last, and it is probably his best? difficult to say as i love Piercing also, but this book is a psychedelic onslaught on the brain, every page is dripping with detail, and Murakami takes you to some amazing places, so descriptive, nothing is lost in translation, this book you will not be able to put down! As far as telling you what its about, nah, read it yourself!
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on 20 May 2003
This is potentially the most enthralling and all encompassing of Ryu Murakami's novels. it explores the very depths of the human psyche and what it means to be an individual. it vividly colourful discriptions and unstoppable narative provide the reader with a journey of a lifetime. this book is perfect for keen readers of Oriental Literature or just individuals with a interest in a good read with an emotive storyline. let me finish by saying that the experience of the book stays with you, and your perception of normality and rationality for, life
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on 17 June 2007
I've read the reviews by people on amazon, because a detailed book review is hard to find online, and I cannot fathom how anyone can see this book as being good.

It is extremely depressing and miserable, but not in a way that you can relate and feel emotional about, but in a horribly boring way. Every page turn, you soon learn to expect something terrible will happen, even if there is no real reason for it to. The author disjointedly writes about his shallow characters, whose actions can be predicted effortlessly.

Needlessly depressing, the plot slugglishly moves from one horribly predictable event to the next, dragging you into a world of misery, leaving all emotions except boredom behind.

I would not recommend this book, and although I have heard better things about his other novels, I shall be looking elsewhere.
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on 27 August 2009
and this is one of his best books....after MISO SOUP, which probably cannot be topped. 'nuff said!
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on 10 July 1998
I bought this book because the premise of the babies abandoned in lockers sounded interesting. Aside from a few good moments it was a big disappointment. The writing was bland and most of the time simply stated action that was going on, like someone describing a movie they are watching. It makes sense that on the back cover the book is endorsed by Roger Corman and Oliver Stone, and is compared to Mike Leigh's Naked. This book would be much better as a movie, and would waste less time. At times when the author does try to write, the book uses descriptive language that sounds forced, like he was trying too hard to be transgressive, subversive, hip, and exciting. To be fair, the bad writing might be partly a result of translation. Translation however cannot be blamed for the book's other larger failings. The story just wandered, like the author made the story up as he went along. There were a lot of promising themes which could have been developed but weren't, for example an adolescent-Nietzsche-ish embrace of the world as violent Will: that the world is dog-eat-dog, and that that is really cool. Unfortunately the book is so disjointed and incoherent that any possible ideas are lost beneath mindless action scenes. Every paragraph some new pointless adventure pops up, a fight breaks out, or a plate of food is thrown at a wall. I actually felt physically tired while reading it all. The minor characters are completely indistinguishable. I regret that I spent two days of my life reading this book, since there are so many wonderful books out there. I can only hope that I may use my misfortune to do some good by helping others to avoid my sad fate. Try Haruki Murakami instead; he's a wonderful writer.
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on 5 January 2010
My daughter was delighted to receive this book as a gift and is really looking forward to reading it. She is very interested in Japanese fiction.
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on 8 March 1998
ryu murakami's best to date, coin locker babies segues from a very strong opening to a truly odd and baffling conclusion. although not without faults, this is an exceedingly compelinng and readable book. murakami spins his tale with much literary flex, and seemingly inexhaustible attiude.
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