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Coin Locker Babies

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  7,944 ratings  ·  441 reviews
A surreal coming-of-age tale that establishes Ryu Murakami as one of the most inventive young writers in the world today.

Abandoned at birth in adjacent train station lockers, two troubled boys spend their youth in an orphanage and with foster parents on a semi-deserted island before finally setting off for the city to find and destroy the women who first rejected them. Bo
Trade Paperback, 393 pages
Published August 9th 2002 by Kodansha (first published October 28th 1980)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.69  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,944 ratings  ·  441 reviews

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Paul Bryant
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, abandoned
I had been wondering where my cat was when the phone rang. It was my brother who was now living as a woman in some part of Tokyo which recently had like a nuclear attack, as far as I remember, but don't quote me. I told him there was no point in ringing me any more as we were now living in the same room together. I don’t think he’d noticed. We were both coin locker babies you know. That’s where your mother is so out of it that when you’re just a new born itty bitty baby coo coo coo your mother s ...more
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
I already knew that Ryu Murakami likes to delve into areas that most readers would find uncomfortable, but Coin Locker Babies leaps head first into a socio-psychological pool of toxics that will probably send most readers running for the relative safety of Fifty Shades of Gray. Coin Locker Babies is one of those books like American Psycho and We Need to Talk About Kevin that alternately repulses and amaze. I found it to be a surreal mixture of horror, social commentary and dark comedy that never ...more
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: the glitter fairy
Recommended to Mariel by: komakino
It's the sound of a coin dropping. It's so loud you could hear a lot of dimes that you get for all the times shitty stuff happens. Those dimes can buy a chinese finger trap of societal problems, or a coloring book. The sound of a baby wailing. The moms aren't going about their business and pissing off everybody else because they have left them in the coin lockers in the train stations of Japan. That's WAY worse than the parents who leave their kids in libraries or toy stores and expect the emplo ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-read, japan
Ryū Murakami pulls a Haruki and gives us some serious surrealism, wrapped in a dystopia that in hindsight appears shockingly prescient. As infants, our protagonists Kiku and Hashi are abandoned in coin lockers, but fortunately, they are found and grow up in an orphanage and later a foster family. At 16, they live in Toxitown, a polluted ghetto in Tokyo and haven for all kinds of misfits and criminals. But the two outsiders fight the odds: Bisexual Hashi becomes a rockstar and marries his manager ...more
Jun 26, 2013 rated it really liked it

*** Spoiler Alert ***

Their mothers left them to die in coin lockers when they were born, but they survived. Kiku and Hashi grew up together in a foster home as brothers, but must deal with their own demons.

Kiku becomes a pole vaulter and eventually kills his mother, landing him in jail. But he escapes and goes to the Garagi Island to search for a substance call “DATURA,” which he would use to destroy Tokyo.

Hashi becomes a bisexual singer and rises to stardom on the heel of Kiku’s killing his mo
Apr 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: postmodern, asian
There are currently no words to sum up how I feel about this.
Emm C²
A mentally exhausting but still addictive book about two adopted siblings, Hashi and Kiku, who share the bond of abandonment - rescued from coin lockers on the same day as infants. As adults they are fed up with the sick, seedy world and everyone in it and look to destroy it or destroy themselves trying.
It stays twinging in your brain like the bug of Hashi's fable, crawling up into your thoughts and taking them over. No matter how you feel about it, it is impossible to forget.

Coin Locker Babies
Mar 29, 2009 rated it liked it
I'm guessing a lot of people wouldn't make it past the first sentence of Ryu Murakami's novel "Coin Locker Babies." On the other hand, it serves as a sort of litmus test: if you can get past that sentence, you can get through the rest of it. The gauged eyeballs, exposed brains that look like tofu, and part where a character takes a scissors to his own tongue.

This novel is the anti-coming of age novel. It's the story of Kiku and Hashi. Both were discovered stuffed into boxes and left for dead in
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Man! Stories don't come more messed up than this one. I have no idea how to put this book into a genre, let alone give it a review. It is a futuristic psychological horror maybe?

The story is about two babies abandoned in a locker, not related instances, fate pushes them together at the same orphanage and they become brothers. Eventually they get adopted by a nice couple and things go well. It seems to me all is calm until one runs away and they become separated. The future that Murakami has cre
Leo Robertson
Jun 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
No review necessary- this is great and you should read if you like this guy's writing. ...more
Joshua Rupp
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-reviews
Ryu Murakami is one of the best writers to come out of the 20th century. While everyone else was poncing around griping about causes and who should be occupying what, Murakami, like Ginsberg with a sense of humor, was willing to quietly watch all the people he knew descend into hysteria and madness before either killing themselves or getting jobs with ties. His work focuses on disaffection, and the lengths people will go to - individually and culturally - to find out what the hell they're doing ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Kiku climbed the stairs of a pedestrian overpass and looked around; Tokyo was a mass of concrete in all directions, as far as the eye could see in the smoggy haze. The cluster of skyscrapers, thirteen in all, loomed up in front of him like a great towered fortress rather than office buildings. Now and then, the sun reflecting on the walls of glass transformed them into tall pillars of light, the shafts of searchlights in daytime, drawing him toward them. So he set out in that direction, mumblin ...more
Apr 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: big-red-circle
This is it:
"His tongue clicking sharply into the mike, Hashi reeled off the names of the band members as shreds of glittering foil rained from the ceiling marking the end of the concert. 'Thank you. Thank you,' he murmured. 'We couldn't do it without your love. Tonight I want you to pray with me for the souls of three girls attacked in a park in Yokohama almost seventy years ago. A sailor on leave butchered them, gouged out their stomachs, and jerked off inside those hollow things. Tonight, let
Jun 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
This one blew my mind. (view spoiler) ... An intriguing plot with some insane twists and a striking exposition results in a shocking yet fascinating novel which is Coin Locker Babies. If you have the guts, have a taste of the bizarre and read this book. ...more
Aug 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Big, bold, and violent: now this is a novel. The opening makes abundantly clear the twisted imagination at work: “The woman pushed on the baby’s stomach and sucked its penis into her mouth; it was thinner than the American menthols she smoked and a bit slimy, like raw fish.” A newborn is being abandoned in a coin-operated locker; this was a serious issue in Japan in the 1970s. The novel focuses on two such boys, each abandoned by his mother, and the strange, twin-like relationship that develops ...more
Stephen Wallant
Jun 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
OK WTF GOODREADS. I wrote a WHOLE REVIEW For this book and now it is gone? Nothing works around here. Fix this site, fix this site. Fix IT!

My review was SO GOOD. I opened with this understated, subtle movement. Sort of an overture. And then BAM, I am in your head, and in this book and you have never read anything like this! (my review!) It's like was this a review? Or am I living in some kind of dream. And I'm never going to go back to my shitty regular life again. It was like the Entertainment
Fiona McCandless
Jun 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
I can't quite date when I first picked up Murakami's 'Coin Locker Babies'. During the long period of reading this book I had to force myself to put it down and not touch it for a decent period of time. Coin Locker Babies is so dark and desperate that I thought it better if I didn't read it for a while. The images it conjures up - though impossible - are so vivid, and will stay with me for a long time.

Japanese rockstar 'Miyavi' wrote a song 'Coin-lockers baby'. The song and the book by Murakami a
Stephen M

no rating because I only read 300 of the 400 pages. There was nothing particularly horrible about it, but it was taking me too much time to read and it's overdue, collecting fines. What can you do? C'est la vie.

It had its moments. Every now and then it would strike a certain theme or comment on something particularly profound. So this experience hasn't taken out any creditability on Murakami #2 which I'm glad about because I don't want my time with Ryu to be over.

That being said, this
May 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sean Blake
Feb 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Coin Locker Babies is one of most surreal books I've ever read. An angry, postmodern existentialist tale told with such detailed descriptive power, Ryū Murakami has crafted an utterly compelling novel about two adopted brothers, both abandoned in coin lockers, and their mentally and physically destructive upbringing into young adults. Hashi becomes a famous bisexual singer with an ever growing need to stab his pregnant wife and Kiku becomes a physically intimidating pole vaulter who, with his mo ...more
Robert Beveridge
Ryu Murakami, Coin Locker Babies (Kodansha, 1995)

For thirty years, Japan has waited for someone to step up and fill the rather sizable shoes left by Yukio Mishima when he committed suicide after a failed attempt at a coup d'etat. It seems that Ryu Murakami has finally stepped up for the job.

Mishima's work was singular in that it combined the beauty and spareness of haiku with random, seemingly meaningless (until one looked below the surface) acts of despair and violence. Murakami treaded these w
Nov 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: asian, read-2008
This book is full of ‘what the…?’ moments that catch you totally off guard. But these moments do not come across as gimmicky. Murakami, the Ryu one, not the Haruki one, weaves a pretty dark, yet humorous Japanese landscape. Two babies are found locked in station coin lockers and grow up together; first in an orphanage, then on an island, then splitting ways, both terribly messed up.

The opening line was the most disturbing I’ve ever read in a book and the story took off full of gristle and bone.
Dec 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A patchwork quilt of a book. There were some passages I liked - the author does extreme violence very well for instance - but lots of stodge and some really strange plot strands/blind avenues. This being Murakami (not that one) it all goes a bit surreal at times too.

There was a paint by numbers tinge too, as the author put in shocking bits from time to time. It was as if he occasionally remembered that he was an enfant terrible and really needed to impress/revolt the reader.

Two boys are abandone
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: japan
If every novelist had one masterpiece, I would rank “Coin Locker Babies” as Ryu Murakami’s masterpiece. A significant departure from his gore and violence infested writings. It is the story of two boys who were abandoned inside coin lockers at birth and grew up adopted as brothers into the same family. When grown, they separate with each pursuing a different path in life.
Randy Pradhana
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Reading this novel is like having a bad dream, but you didn't realize that you're smiling amazed by the scene. ...more
Apr 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
When the book starts with words "the woman started sucking baby's penis and it was smaller than cigarettes that she was smoking..." you know that this is a fucked up story.
I wasn't able to finish it because it was too weird even for me, although it was weirdly enjoyable...
Jun 21, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: japan, fiction
There was a lot happening here. A lot. Hookers, teenage hustlers, run-of-the-mill drugs, weird sex, a pet alligator, more weird sex, self-mutilation, addiction, experimental top secret drugs, clunky POV shifts, insanity, anarchy, a rock star whose voice causes nausea, and some more sex. Then some stuff happens to Tokyo and somebody has an epiphany. The end.

It read a lot, in fact, like an earlier, more convoluted iteration of Popular Hits of the Showa Era, though the nihilism was less cheerful an
Mr Siegal
Dec 10, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A Missed Opportunity

When I read the overview of the book, I was gripped. The book seemed so promising, and I instantly bought it and started reading it. I was quite disappointed. Overall, the characters are thin, and there is no apparent depth in anything. In addition, the book is marked by a lot of violence in one place, and little violence in another, singling that the tone of the book is inconsistent throughout. I could not empathise with the plight of the characters, nor did I agree that pe
Adria Carmichael
Nov 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This is semi-fantastical story of the lives and fates of two brothers who were saved from certain death after having been abandoned in a train station coin locker. I absolutely loved the premise and the story world Ryu Murakami had built for this novel, as well as the characters and several of the subplots. The downside was that it didn't feel like one storyline with supporting subplots, but rather as a long line of loosely connected subplots, so it fell short of reaching it's potential. One cou ...more
Guillermo Galvan
For a long time I was anxious to read anything by Ryu Murakami. The Coin Locker Babies started off decent enough but later dragged. I kept wanting Coin Locker to reach the heights of Kenzaburō Ōe, Yukio Mishima, and Haruki Murakami. It's a lot to ask considering these writers are legends of modern literature. But I'm selfish, I want the best.

Coin Locker's strong substance is diluted by too high a page count. There were stand-out scenes. It's unfortunate there was so much waiting in between. I'm
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Ryū Murakami (村上 龍) is a Japanese novelist and filmmaker. He is not related to Haruki Murakami or Takashi Murakami.

Murakami's first work, the short novel Almost Transparent Blue, written while he was still a student, deals with promiscuity and drug use among disaffected Japanese youth. Critically acclaimed as a new style of literature, it won the newcomer's literature prize in 1976 despite some ob

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