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Sunday 27 April 2014

‘The Thief’ by Fuminori Nakamura

Published by Corsair,
16 May 2013. 
ISBN: 978-1-47210-587-5

This is a crime novel in its purest sense, the story of a criminal entangled in a greater level of crime than he wished for, and I was gripped from the first, elegant sentence: When I was a kid I often messed this up.  The narrator, Nishimura, is a pickpocket, and we’re drawn to sympathise with him by the bleakness of his life and the dreamlike element of his fears, the ‘tower’ from the end of his street that oversees his misdeeds.  During the novel we learn of his old friend and partner, Ishikawa, and his lost lover, Saeko, and we also meet the young boy who represents what Nishimura once was, and who can, perhaps, be saved from becoming what he now is. 

The story is fresh, compelling; the writing is taut and filled with a spare beauty; the simple sentences keep you reading quickly on to find out what is going to happen next.  The book works on several levels: as a crime story, as a psychological study, as a fable.  I enjoyed reading it very much, and it will resonate in my head for some time to come
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor
Fuminori Nakamura born in Aichi on 2 September 1977. Nakamura came to international attention when he won the 2010 Kenzaburo Oe Prize for his novel, The Thief . The English translation of the novel was well received. The Wall Street Journal called the book a "chilling philosophical thriller" and included it in its Best Fiction of 2012,

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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