A heist thriller with a heavyweight emotional and social undertow, Takamura's seminal 1997 work is an enduring slice of Japanese noir and the worthy recipient of a long overdue English translation.
Tokyo, 1995. Five men meet at the racetrack every Sunday to bet on horses. They have little in common except a deep disaffection with their lives, but together they represent the social struggles and griefs of post-War Japan: a poorly socialized genius stuck working as a welder; a demoted detective with a chip on his shoulder; a Zainichi Korean banker sick of being ostracized for his ethnicity; a struggling single dad of a teenage girl with Down's syndrome. The fifth man bringing them all together is an elderly drugstore owner grieving his grandson, who has died in suspicious circumstances.
Intent on revenge against a society that values corporate behemoths more than human life, the five conspirators decide to carry out a heist: kidnap the CEO of Japan's largest beer conglomerate and extract blood money from the company's corrupt financiers.
Inspired by the unsolved true-crime kidnapping case perpetrated by 'the Monster with 21 Faces', Lady Joker has become a cultural touchstone since its 1997 publication, acknowledged as the magnum opus by one of Japan's literary masters, twice adapted for film and TV and often taught in high school and college classrooms.
Publisher: John Murray Press
Number of pages: 592
Weight: 405 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 40 mm
'Hallelujah! Inspired by the real-life, still unsolved Glico-Morinaga kidnapping and extortion case which led to the nationwide hunt for 'The Monster with Twenty-one Faces', Kaoru Takamura's Lady Joker is at last available in translation; epic in its scale and vision, yet gripping from first to last, this is one of the great masterpieces of Japanese crime fiction and one of the must-read books of this or any year.' - David Peace, author of Tokyo Year Zero
A novel that portrays with devastating immensity how those on the dark fringes of society can be consumed by the darkness of their own hearts.' - Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police
'Takamura's prismatic heist novel offers a broad indictment of capitalist society.' - New York Times
'Lady Joker is a work you get immersed in, like a sprawling 19th century novel or a TV series like The Wire... Lady Joker casts a page-turning spell' - NPR
'Like Ellroy's American Tabloid and Carr's The Alienist, the book uses crime as a prism to examine dynamic periods of social history... Takamura's blistering indictment of capitalism, corporate corruption and the alienation felt by characters on both sides of the law from institutions they once believed would protect them resonates surprisingly with American culture.' - Los Angeles Times
'Excellent... Takamura shows why she's one of Japan's most prominent mystery novelists.' - Publishers Weekly
'Takamura's challenging, genre-confounding epic offers a sweeping view of contemporary Japan in all its complexity.' - Kirkus
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“Classic Japanese mystery story very culture centric”
Lady Joker is a world famous and hugely influential Japanese novel, a classic in the real sense of the word, and this is the first English translation. It is clearly a crime novel: murder, kidnapping, extortion,... More
“Best I have read this year”
You are likely to find this book in the crime section which is a crime. Go read...Great book...and then read the even better volume 2
“Slowl burner but overall a good read”
If you're looking for something fast-paced, gritty, and suspenseful, this probably isn't the novel for you. On the other hand, it does provide an interesting insight into post-war Japanese society,... More
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