Monday, 17 October 2016

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura (3/5)

First published: 2009
Original title: 掏摸
Original language: Japanese
Translation to English by: Satoko Izumo and Stephen Coates, 2012

Page count: 211
The back says: The thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo's crowds, stealing wallets from strangers, so smoothly sometimes he doesn't even remember the snatch. To him, people are a blur: a sea of nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections... 

But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears and offers him a job he can't refuse. It's easy: tie up an old rich man, steal the contents of his safe. No one gets hurt. Only, the day after the job's done, the thief learns that the old man was a prominent politician. And after the robbery he was brutally murdered. Now, the thief is caught in a tangle from which even he might not be able to escape.

I say: This was a short and easy read that I’m not quite sure if I enjoyed. Parts of the story interested me, while others caused confusion. I understand that the flashbacks were there to tell his story, but what did his ex-girlfriend have to do with anything? All memories of her seemed superfluous. And if they were there to showcase some form of humanity in him, they failed.

The same goes for the boy.

It was all just so contrived.

I must admit that I lost interest in the story about halfway through, and when the consequences of the robbery appeared I read merely for the sake of finishing. Which is kind of a shame because I was enjoying Nakamura’s sparse prose.

3/5 because having finished I’m left with nothing more than a meh.

[Aside: there were two spelling mistakes in the book and that annoyed me more than it really should.]

No comments:

Post a Comment