Amanda's Reviews > The Thief

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura
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's review
Mar 31, 12

bookshelves: arc, japanese-lit, standalone, thriller
Read from March 16 to 20, 2012

The narrator makes his living as a pickpocket in Tokyo. When the man who taught him the art, not to mention his only true friend, finds himself on the wrong side of the Yakuza, he sees the likely impending end to his own life. But can he run or are his heart strings tied to the city?

Nakamura is a best-selling writer in Japan, and this is his first novel to be translated to English. I'm a fan of the crime/noir novels coming out of Japan, and this one certainly didn't let me down.

The narrator is everything you want from a criminal lead--sympathetic, dangerous, talented, handsome but not exceedingly so, trapped, creative. The story is complex.

The ending may turn some readers off. It is an ambiguous one, which I know some people don't like. I love that kind of ending though, because it leaves me to ponder how I think things turned out. How I hope they turned out. And I didn't feel at all cheated by it either. It's well-supported, but stops just short of telling us everything.

Something did hold me back from completely loving the book though. I think it would have been better if we had met the narrator a bit earlier in his career to follow his downward trajectory more completely. It all felt a bit too sudden to me. I wanted to know the narrator and his relationship to his teacher better.

Overall this is a great piece of translated crime fiction that gives the reader a peak at the crime underworld of Tokyo. I recommend it to fans of both unique crime fiction and works in translation.

Check out my full review. (Link will be live April 02, 2012).

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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