Who is Mr. Satoshi?
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"Compelling, funny and beautifully written, this novel is one of those rare treats - a book you won't want to put down" (Jennie Rooney, author of INSIDE THE WHALE)
"Jonathan Lee paints an exhilarating portrait of modern day Tokyo in limpid, intelligent prose as we accompany his narrator along his wildly labyrinthine voyage through the city." (Chloe Aridjis)
"Funny and moving, Who Is Mr Satoshi? introduces another newcomer who will catch prize judges' attentions. Set in Japan, it concerns Rob Fossick, an English photographer who has been unable to work since his wife died. When his mother, too, is suddenly killed, he discovers she has left instructions that he must deliver a package to a mysterious Mr Satoshi in Tokyo. Lurching from crisis to crisis as he stumbles drunk and weeping through a strange culture, he engages the help of a pink-haired Japanese girl and a former sumo wrestler. Fossick (a great name for someone on a quest) eventually unravels a mystery stretching back to the time of the Allied occupation." (Giles Foden, author of THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND)
"an elegant and incisive examination of how history and our perceptions of the world are partial, filtered, and continually revised...Who is Mr Satoshi? ask[s] intriguing questions about how we see, remember and narrate our lives." (Observer)
"a lyrical page-turner" (Naomi Alderman) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Inventive and mysterious, WHO IS MR SATOSHI? introduces a major new talent to contemporary fiction. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot is basically a quest to find the elusive Mr Satoshi and deliver a parcel from his mother, conquering his greatest fears along the way. Fossick is helped in his quest by a group of colourful characters - I particularly liked the Dolly Parton obsessed ex-sumo wrestler. Even when Fossick discovers the identity of Mr Satoshi the question 'Who is Mr Satoshi?' remains, knowing someones name doesn't mean we know who they really are. Fossick is also forced to question his knowledge of his own mother. Did he really know who she was? Which begs the question can we really 'know' anyone.
This novel contains both tragedy and humour and I look forward to Jonathan Lee's 'difficult second novel'.
Jonathan Lee tells a story of Foss, a photographer recovering from personal tragedy, dealing with his mother's dying wish that he deliver some enveloped to a former sweetheart who went by the name of Satoshi and who might live in Japan. Thus, Foss gathers all his courage together and heads out to Japan - shame it took 90 pages for him to do it.
In Japan, Foss meets a pink haired student called Chiyoko. Lee reminds us often that Chiyoko has pink hair which is a good thing because the reader would otherwise forget - the detail is so very forgettable. Chiyoko drops her life to accompany Foss on this quest although there's no obvious reason for her to do this.
There is a clear effort to mirror some of the surreality of successful Japanese (or Japan-set) novels. Hence, we can see nods to Ryu Murakami (e.g. Coin Locker Babies), Natsuo Kirino's Real World, and Davis Mitchell's number9dream. Unfortunately, the surreality is not developed enough to overcome an otherwise implausible plot and a distinct lack of suspense.
There are no twists, no bombshells. Even as each discovery is made on the path to Satoshi, it merely confirms what the reader had already assumed. And the actual effort to find Satoshi is also not extensive - it seems to consist of looking things up in a library and then chatting to a chance stranger who conveniently knows the answer. No characterisation either. Nor any great insight into Japan - just a string of clichés: sushi, love hotels, neon advertising, sumo wrestling, high prices, automatic taxi doors, ...Read more ›
Rob is now forced to sort out his mother’s things and in doing so finds a parcel addressed to this Mr Satoshi. Apparently he’s living somewhere in Japan. Rob’s relationship with his mother had been rather brittle, shall we say, of late and now it’s as if he’s trying to salve his conscience by ‘doing the right thing’ ie: I’ll make sure mother’s parcel gets to where it needs to go. And as you’d expect, easier said than done. And so we enter into the story proper, if you like and Rob glibly decides to take himself off to Japan (as you do). But is it all just a wild goose chase?
The reader is given a potted history of mother and son’s relationship down the years. Rob has been well aware of gaps in his mother’s life but apparently she didn’t want to talk about it. And currently Rob has his own issues to deal with. He’s doing his best with the help of medication but he knows deep down that he’s simply existing – he’s not living a proper meaningful life. So he thinks a complete change of scenery may just do the trick. But does it? And at this point, Lee’s knowledge of all things Japanese kicks in. The reader is presented with lots of facts regarding Japan and its people. From food to fashion, it’s all there.
And while all this is interesting – to a point – it felt a little contrived at times.Read more ›
I have already bought copies as presents and the feedback has been nothing but positive - overall a superb achievement for a first (or any other) book. Bring on the next one.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Descriptive but dull!! Not my cup of sake. Was expecting quite the shocking reveal but didn't happen!!! Flat characters indeed.Published on 22 Jan. 2014 by Kimberley Louise John
Robert Fossick, or just Foss, at the very beginning of the novel becomes a witness to his mother's stroke in the yard of her home. Read morePublished on 1 Sept. 2013 by Ray Garraty
There was only one thing to truly like about this novel and it arrived on Page 275. The book itself ended on Page 295. It has taken me a month to read. Read morePublished on 18 May 2013 by Jonathan Posner
Rob Fossick has withdrawn from the world after a tragic loss. After his Mother's death he re-engages with life gradually to try to deliver a parcel to a man known only as Mr... Read morePublished on 3 Mar. 2013 by catsatcastle
This book is a very nicely written puzzle that touches on a number of issues, foremost amongst them how little we really know about our parents. Read morePublished on 16 May 2012 by D. Pearce
Warm and attractive, super-readable debut novel by Jonathan Lee (JL) about top photographer Rob Fossick (RF), whose life came to a standstill after the accidental death of his wife... Read morePublished on 15 Mar. 2012 by Alfred J. Kwak
A British photographer, fighting a troubled past, finds himself drawn to Japan through a request left by his dead Mother. "Who is Mr Satoshi? Read morePublished on 19 Feb. 2012 by Loved-IT
I was surprised to find that this is the first novel from Jonathan Lee as it reads so well, and I could easily have believed the author to be more accomplished. Read morePublished on 7 Nov. 2011 by A Smile and a Wave
I ordered this book as it is partly set in Japan, a country that holds great fascination for me. I didn't really know much else about the book, so I was very surprised to find such... Read morePublished on 9 Oct. 2011 by Laura Smith