Sunday, October 02, 2016

The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

(hb; 2009, 2012. Translated from Japanese by Satoko Izumo and Stephen Coates)

From the inside flap:

"The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly sometimes he doesn’t even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him, nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections.... But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears in his life, and offers him a job he can’t refuse. It’s an easy job: tie up an old rich man, steal the contents of the safe. No one gets hurt. Only the day after the job does he learn that the old man was a prominent politician, and that he was brutally killed after the robbery. And now the Thief is caught in a tangle even he might not be able to escape."


Thief is an excellent, fast-paced and word-spare crime tale, told from the first-person point-of-view of the Thief, whose emotional journey from jaded loner pickpocket to reluctant protector of a boy is marked by occasional violence and the predations of Kizaki, a master criminal with a dangerous political agenda – an agenda that may result in the Thief’s death.

Thief, a pulp-to-its-core read, is worth owning. This is a thematic counterpart work to  The Kingdom.

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