Previous Posts: Books: July 2011

Book Reviews: A Caring Man (Akira Arai)

A loner takes revenge on all of Japan. Efficient thrills but a bit hollow.



Purchases support
this site.

John Updike once wrote down a few good rules for reviewing books (or any other media, really), with the first one being “Try to understand what the author wished to do, and do not blame him for not achieving what he did not attempt.” I did my best to keep this rule fixed firmly in my mind — or “engraved on my liver”, as they say in Japan — while reading Akira Arai’s A Caring Man. I had to do this for one simple reason: I kept comparing it, unfairly I suspect, to another book I felt was thematically similar but superior in execution, Ryū Murakami’s Coin Locker Babies. The two even share something of the same plotline: a young man abandoned by his biological mother and with the mindset of an outsider sets in motion a plan to take revenge on the society that failed him.

I know by now, though, that most people are less interested in the question of which book is “better” than they are in whether or not this particular book is any good. It is a good book, up to a point (and I’ll get to that in due time), but I had the shadow of the earlier book hanging over me all the while I read this one, and I would be dishonest if I didn’t cop to that. Babies is the far more artful, experimental, unabashedly “literary” of the two, while Caring Man is the more rigorously plotted, accessible, and upmarket-thriller story. It isn’t a groundbreaker and it won’t live forever, but it wasn’t meant to: it was written to give the reader a good ride. And for the most part it quite aptly provides said ride, but I do have to admit the ways it fumbles its own ball are annoying. Read more


Tags: Akira Arai Aum fiction Japan Osamu Tezuka Ryū Murakami thrillers Tokyo Tower Vertical Inc.


Book Reviews: Black Jack Vol. 15 (Osamu Tezuka)

Volume 15 of this series continues to assemble pieces that ran after Black Jack’s original run ended, and in some ways this is the best of the “pick-up” volumes yet....



Purchases support
this site.

Volume 15 of this series continues to assemble pieces that ran after Black Jack’s original run ended, and in some ways this is the best of the “pick-up” volumes yet. Read more


Tags: black jack books Japan manga Osamu Tezuka review Vertical Inc.



About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Books category from July 2011.

You can see alphabetical or chronological listings of all entries in this category.

Books: June 2011 is the previous archive.

Books: August 2011 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

About Me

I'm an independent SF and fantasy author, technology journalist, and freelance contemplator for how SF can be made into something more than just a way to blow stuff up.

My Goodreads author profile.

Learn some more about me.

My Books

Coming Soon

Out Now

More of my books

Search This Site


Other People We Like

Fandom

Archives