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De hals van Audrey Hepburn
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De hals van Audrey Hepburn

3.51 of 5 stars 3.51  ·  rating details  ·  342 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Alan Brown's first novel is a comic tale of sexual desire and bad manners set in contemporary Tokyo. Twenty-three-year-old cartoonist Toshi is obsessed with slim American women, and his best friend, an American named Paul, is obsessed with Japanese men. Toshi begins having an affair with Jane, his English teacher, who turns out to be insane; Paul has an endless stream of J ...more
Published by De Geus
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Apr 22, 2009 Liz rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: only sort of
I started off liking this book, and then wasn't too crazy about it by the end. The idea is interesting - this Japanese man, infatuated with Audrey Hepburn (representing America, I guess), only goes out with American women, many of whom are crazy. There is a second story about his parents that unfolds, and I think is a little unbelievable, and I'm not sure how it really relates to the Audrey Hepburn theme. There are some cross-cultural misunderstandings, but I don't know - this book is written by ...more
I would actually give this a 3.5. The light hearted story of a young Japanese man, who at 9 falls in love with Audrey Hepburn (and her swan like neck) and subsequently is unable to be attracted to anyone but American women, takes an abrupt change halfway thru and becomes deadly serious. Secrets from WWII which haunt his parents and change his life, are revealed and the tone of the book is never light again. A very interesting story, but the humor and the pathos should have been spread out more e ...more
Toshi Okamoto was born on a little island in Japan. He always had a fascination with American things such as the actress Audrey Hepburn and her neck.

As he was taking a course in the spoken English as a teenager, he was seduced by his American teacher. Since he was so young, he didn't really know what to make of this.

Later he went to a city where he met Paul Swift, an American living in Japan. Paul is a homosexual who recently lost his partner to AIDS.

The author writes in a lyrical manner and tel
Perhaps only 3.5 but it was a nice read. What one hopes the average novel would be--not life changing but thoughtful and well executed. The title is a poor fit though. It makes it sound like chick lit.
Chris Beal
It is one thing for a Westerner to write about how it is to be a foreigner in Japan. Such accounts, usually fictionalized, are often funny and revealing. But it is even more of an accomplishment for a Westerner to write about foreigners in Japan from the Japanese point of view. This is what Alan Brown so admirably does.

Not being Japanese, I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the Japanese viewpoint in this novel, but it certainly has the ring of authenticity. The story involves a young man, raised
We recently read this for my book club. My mom read this forever ago and remembered loving it. She had been going through a "read all about Japanese culture to try to understand the man she was dating better" phase. Have you ever been through something like that?

Well anyway, it was a very easy read and we all read it quite quickly. Toshi is a Japanese man living in Tokyo who is obsessed with Americans. He has a gay best friend and dates American women. The differences entrance him, their abilit
Joel Neff
When I first read this book, in 1998, I had never been to Japan and knew next to nothing about the language, the culture, or the people. I had only recently discovered that one could move to Japan and teach English without needing to have studied Japanese or, really, much of anything. In what was a nice coincidence, I picked this book up off the bargain shelf at a bookstore and started reading.

The words were so clear, so evocative, so exotic and yet so familiar. I knew these people. I could see
I loved this book. I loved the characters even though they were sad-somehow you still cared about them. Perhaps I wanted to know what could make them so sad. (and eventually you find out)One of the most disturbing things in the book was Toshi's affair with Jane. That bothered me and I'm still searching for the reason it had to be there, perhaps to so how naive Toshi actually was. I was really glad that Toshi fell in love with Lucy but her character wasn't very well developed. The glimpse into Ja ...more
I seem to be drawn to books which juxtapose Japanese and American culture. I love that aspect of this book. It takes place in Hokkaido province, where While Sheep Chase, a book I read for book club, takes place. This is funnier, more impressionistic. There is a strange relationship between Toshi, the main character, and an American woman. Actually, Americans come off fairly bad...but Toshi is fascinated by them...ever since seeing Audrey Hepburn on the screen. I laughed out loud in the beginning ...more
It seemed like a lot of people did not care for this book, but I really enjoyed it. I thought the similarities in the women portrayed in the story were interesting. I don't know a lot about Japanese culture - mainly just what I have read - so I can't speak to any authenticity about how Americans were portrayed in Japan during this time period but, considering the author did live in Japan during the time period of the novel, he probably saw some of this going on. I liked the story of the main cha ...more
Read it, when it was new. Loved the writing.
The author presents an interesting view of Japanese culture and American influence. There was a lot going on, and I thought the story with Jane was unnecessary. More time could have been spent on Toshi's family, or even on how Toshi felt about what was happening in his life. Toshi remained a blank slate, and I never did understand his motivation for some of his actions. It's a quick easy read, and I didn't find it dull, just not satisfying. I didn't find the writing to be incredibly adept; it wa ...more
I got this book years ago off a bargain table just because I liked the title. It also takes place in Japan, which is a plus. It turns out it's not a bad book, though it didn't overwhelm me. The plot is a little pedestrian, but it's not bad. It also has some good funny parts. I think the book was probably much more original when it was written in the 90s, but with America's love of everything quirky and Japanese in the intervening years, it seems much less original today.
This book was really fun to read because it describes modern-day Japan. So much Asian fiction is historical that it was refreshing to read about how the ancient traditions of Japan mesh with modern day customs. That said I really was annoyed with the parts of the book that spoke of Yoshi's childhood. I felt like they interrupted the story and I just wanted to get on with it!
Ever since Toshi's ninth birthday, no one else could compare with Audrey Hepburn! His enamored attraction sets the stage for enticing, sensuous story dealing with relationships and conflicts between people, cultures and countries. It's also a funny look at the U.S. from a Japanese perspective. Filled with fun word plays on English translations!
I was blown away by the story. I loved the emotional changes that the main charecter goes through as he finds himself, and where he belongs in the world.

I didn't expect to zoom through this as fast as I did during my daily commute.

See where this book will travel next, at:
very good look at modern japan and its many kinds of people, with interesting links back to WWII japan and insight into a very different way of life. written by an american, but from the view point of a young japanese man. several americans and a korean are also key figures in the story, but the not the main characters.
Nineties nostalgia here we come. Brown's nods to ni-chome, the Kinsmen, and a certain orange formica ramen shop across the way were wonderful. Last time I passed the Kinsmen in 2006, the windows were dark. Have heard that Wayne Wang optioned this for a film, but that was years ago.
Jun 17, 2008 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has lived in Japan, particularly in the 90s.
A very fun read for me because it is set in Tokyo in the 90s. I don't know if you'd "get" it if you hadn't ever been there. The story was solid, character development was fun, good American characters, the writing was fine, but for me the fun was in the reminiscing about my time there.
I loved the part where the Japanese students taking an English class taught by the American woman are bemused by her instructions to express their deep feelings. "Except for the Ishikawa sisters, no one in the class seems to know what they are or how to express them."
Some kid said this was a book about a gay Japanese man... no the protagonist is not gay. His American friend is.

This book taught me a lot about the current culture of Japan. A nice and interesting read.
A good book about a gay Japanese man.It is his coming out story and the story of his desire to be assimilatted into American culture. It should be right up there with My Life as a Geisha,M Butterfly.
Annie Guthrie
How could you not read a book with this title...didn't all young women want to be her? I really enjoyed this book made me want to read more of the authors work....
3 1/2 stars, can't exactly explain why. I liked the descriptions of Japanese culture, and the characters were pretty interesting. Jane kind of ruined the book for me, though.
Sep 21, 2007 Karyn rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in other cultures
Really enjoyed this book. Most of the time, quite hard to put down (there were a few slow parts). Interesting to look at the American culture through Japanese eyes.
Wedding chapels and grocery stores in department stores! Amusement parks on the roof.
Lacy Sawyer
About a comic book guy from Japan. LIttle bit of sex. Japanese culture and a bit of history thrown in.
Hodgepodge of Japanese culture, hysterical Americans, AIDS, gay culture.
Lucy Sutherland
Very good! All about an American expat living in Japan in the 1990s.
Delicate, lovely book about life in Tokyo for a gay man.
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