Thursday, April 05, 2007

Top 10 books set in Japan

Fiona Campbell began writing after moving to Tokyo. On her return she wrote Death of a Salaryman.
"I fell in love with Japanese fiction after reading Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto," she explains. "I was 21 at the time and immediately went on to read many more of her books. For me they were about the chance encounters between strangers that can touch lives, and the miraculous events scattered throughout daily existence. Next I discovered Haruki Murakami, where characters disappeared, questions went unanswered, the bizarre was commonplace. I was very much influenced by these two authors and tried to capture something of what they do in Death of a Salaryman."
She named her top 10 books set in Japan for the Guardian.

The only title on her list not written by a Japanese author:
Dreaming Pachinko by Isaac Adamson

As an example of foreign fiction set in Japan I've chosen Dreaming Pachinko by Isaac Adamson. It's a fun book that by the author's own admission shouldn't be taken too seriously. It's also the third novel to feature Youth In Asia (a magazine based in Cleveland) journalist and amateur detective Billy Chaka. When Chaka gets sent to Tokyo to interview a former rock star turned pachinko addict he thinks it's going to be an easy assignment. That's until he witnesses a woman suffer a violent seizure and finds himself embroiled in a blackmail plot. Fans of Raymond Chandler will find much to enjoy in this book.
Read about Number One on Campbell's list.

--Marshal Zeringue