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The Earthquake Bird
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 February 2013
When Lucy's friend Lily is murdered, Lucy becomes the main suspect. We meet her while she is being questioned by the police and refusing to answer them. Instead she tells us, the readers, her story. Damaged by events in her early life, Lucy has moved from her Yorkshire home to Japan to try to put the past and her family behind her. She has grown to love her new country but still gives the impression of being very much an outsider looking in.

Susanna Jones' great strength is in creating compelling, enigmatic central characters and Lucy is a fine example of this. She admits to being 'strange' and some of her actions would seem to confirm this. But she tells her story in such a way that the reader can't be sure whether her memories are accurate or distorted by later events. She is oddly likeable despite her insecurities and obsessiveness.

Jones' writing style is spare and well crafted, shot through with shafts of humour and irony, but gradually creating tension that builds throughout the book. Through Lucy's eyes, Jones gives us a convincing picture of life for a young woman in an alien culture and of the crossover between the immigrant community and the native Japanese. She doesn't make the mistake of trying to tie everything up too neatly at the end - Lucy's future remains as enigmatic as her past. An excellent debut novel with all the ingredients that Jones shows in her more recent books. Recommended.
2 people found this helpful
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on 24 May 2015
A beautifully written story in the first person. If you have never been to Japan, this book will bring it alive for you, from the descriptions of the landscape right down to the pink bean paste cake. The story opens with the arrest of Lucy Fly for the murder of Lily Bridges. Lucy is unfortunate in life, unwanted by her mother, bullied by her brothers, she eventually flees England in adulthood to find her own place in Japan. She plays in a string quartet, and meets her lover, Teiji, who she sees reflected in water as he photographs her. The balance of their lives is upset when Lily comes on the scene and Lucy recounts what happens during the time she is held in the police interview room. The ending is surprising and not surprising at the same time. Lucy’s balance of mind is not great and sometimes she drifts into talking about herself in the third person. This is a bit disconcerting but helps to reinforce her sense of separation from the world she inhabits and her isolation from those around her.
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on 25 March 2018
This pitch perfect novel seeps into your consciousness like a cold wind. It has a visual power that puts you in the middle of Tokyo and leaves you with many questions. Perfect, I just gobbled this book up
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on 18 February 2013
This is a nice quick read narrated by the disconcerting Lucy. She has made her home in Tokyo having escaped East Yorkshire. The story takes us through the events leading up to the murder of the newly-arrived and naive Lilly who Lucy begrudgingly befriends. Lucy's role in this is ambiguous although it is fun guessing and the pay-off certainly made will make your hair stand up on end.
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on 9 March 2013
I found this book written as though thoughts would randomly enter into a person's mind. It did rather draw you in as the way it was written was totally different to most of the books, especially as the person came over as steadily more schizophrenic, I did wonder what was going to happen at the end. Unfortunately, not a great deal.
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on 22 December 2012
Quietly haunting, you won't forget this one in a while. I thought I'd give this a go as the price seemed too good to be true. It did not disappoint. Completely different than I was expecting refreshingly different. A brilliant read!
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on 14 June 2014
This was a very good 'easy' read which I had finished within two sittings. Gave an interesting look into Japanese culture which I had previously not encountered.
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on 5 September 2013
Very thought provoking story. I really enjoyed reading this book. Twists and turns galore and not an ending I guessed.
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on 26 January 2013
This book was recommended by a friend. I probably would have passed it by otherwise, but then I would have missed out. It is a strange story, but at the same time I didn't want to put it down. Seems to end rather suddenly.
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on 3 May 2013
Set in Japan, a mystery that isn't explained until the end. Main character a bit odd but believable eventually. Worth reading a sample to see if its the style you like.
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