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Feel different Japan, meet master thief...,
This review is from: The Thief (Paperback)
Fuminori Nakamura's "The Thief" is first novel from Japanese author published in English and because of its quality I'm sad I'm not fluent in Japanese to be able to read in original.
Main character of novella is a skilled pickpocket, so skilled and accustomed to his work he sometimes cannot remember the source of the wallet discovered in his own pocket. Mentored by one of the best thieves, older guy named Ishikawa, with who he lost contact, now he is able to live from his profession. But he is also complicated man, not bothered how he will survive from day to day and sometimes he would give away all his loot to some a young boy's mother just to stop her from forcing him to steal supplies from the shop. But also he is thief with conscience and some kind of thief honesty, keeps only stolen cash and returns the wallets along with the credit cards to the owners by mail.
His mentor reappears in his life and offer him chance to earn lot of money doing easy job, but job unlike any other he was ever been involved with - an armed robbery with group of people. Job sounded maybe even too easy - break into someone's home, tie him up and steal everything in his safe. They do manage to have the job done, but it seems there is no way to return to their "normal" life, since their employer for that particular job was a ruthless boss who was not willing to let them go. Now thief is faced with question will and how he would be able to get out alive from this situation.
In same time he would be more and more involved with aforementioned mother and her son; he would feel like his life has finally found its purpose or even maybe find his will to live. Trying to save the boy in the end he would save himself, in the end becoming the person he could or maybe always been - a good man.
What is biggest surprise for reader living outside from Japan is completely different picture of Japan given in novella. We see "noir Japan", characters which are so untypical for humble and honest Japan we are all accustomed of. In this novella we learn lot about Japan, about its culture and people, something which cannot be seen on TV or read in newspapers.
This is a well-written novella, which can be equally put on shelves of crime fiction but also psychological drama. For sure this is a must read for any thriller lover.