Item description for Shadow Family by Miyuki Miyabe & Juliet Winters Carpenter...
In Shadow Family, Miyuki Miyabe draws readers into the amorphous world of Internet chat rooms-a world of people from all walks of life attracted by the possibility of being whomever they want to be. Police investigating the murder of a middle-aged office worker discover e-mail correspondence on the victim's computer that indicates he had been a regular participant in an Internet chat room, as the "father" in a fantasy "family." Meanwhile, a female detective is assigned to protect the dead man's real-life daughter who complains of being stalked. As the real daughter confronts her father's alternate life, we are pulled into a psychological drama that pits reality and illusion against each other in astonishing ways. Reading Guide available
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5" Weight: 0.58 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2006
Publisher Kodansha International
ISBN 4770030045 ISBN13 9784770030047
Availability 0 units.
More About Miyuki Miyabe & Juliet Winters Carpenter
Miyuki Miyabe's first novel was published in 1987, and since that time she has become one of Japan's most popular and best-selling authors. Miyabe's 2007 novel Brave Story won The Batchelder Award for best children's book in translation from the American Library Association. The Book of Heroes is her sixth novel to be translated into English.
Miyuki Miyabe currently resides in Tokyo. Miyuki Miyabe was born in 1960.
Reviews - What do customers think about Shadow Family?
An ingeniouly clever mystery Dec 23, 2007
Miyuki Miyabe's "shadow Family" is an ingeniously clever police procedural. Unlike "All She was Worth" another mystery by Miyabe which I thoroughly enjoyed, the novel was less Japanese and more universal. I liked both the concept given the enormous increase in computer chat sites and the manner in which the characters were developed. It was a difficult book to put down and I rhought that the ending was satisfying.
enthralling....but alittle light in content Apr 29, 2006
First, I'd like to correct a previous viewer. Ms. Miyabi did not write "OUT". This was written by an equally amazing author Natsuo Kirino. Funny story: I made the same mistake in purchasing Miyabi's book "All She was Worth" thinking it was by Kirino; and was pleasantly rewarding with a new favorite.
Anyway, "Shadow Family" was a great read. Equally as rewarding as her other two novels. The characters were people I could easily sympathize with, and paced to a degree that I looked forward to every page turned. While it's true, that the book could have been just as long as "Crossfire" and "All She Was Worth", as some of the characters had a history with each other that was never fully fleshed out, the roller coaster ride that was the interrogation made up for it.
Also, while it's true that the identity of the killer was revealed quite early on, I don't think that it was the point of the story. It was the revelations surrounding the online family that became slowly fleshed out....and the "super-surprise" revelation about this family at the end (I won't give it away) that was the real kicker.
All in all, I got my money's worth, and look forward to many more translations from Miyabi. They're really taking their sweet time aren't they?
Read Miyabe's other novels instead Apr 10, 2006
I am a big fan of Miyuki Miyabe, but this novel was disappointing. If you are interested in a good mystery or Japanese mystery, I highly recommend her other books "Out" and "All She Was Worth", to a lesser extent "Crossfire" instead.
The characters in the novel were really what kept me reading, especially the main character, a middle-aged female police officer. For me, she was the perfect Japanese female police officer or professional for that matter. Content with what she has achieved, knowing that some of her achievements were due to "gender" issues (i.e. promoting females in the force), but others her own doing. Understanding the gender issues in the workplace and working within the confines of it, instead of being brash or frustrated - she turns them to her advantage instead. The essence of working in Japan as a female. If you are interested in characters, especially about Japanese characters, this novel will not disappoint you. Because of this, I rate the book 3 stars and not lower.
I completely understand what Miyabe was trying to do with this novel. Bring to light what effects the internet is having on social relationships and family. She wants the reader to be shocked and appalled, but I'm afraid that most of us are already jaded by the goings on on the internet and there is little shock value left in her storyline. Miyabe said it best herself in a recent interview "it is getting harder and harder for writers to shock readers or invent shocking storylines, as reality is becoming more shocking each day than fiction."
Its all make-believe Jun 10, 2005
In her native Japan, Miyuki Miyabe is as much a household name as John Grisham or Stephen King. While not the avante guard genius of Haruki Murakami, she is a respected and popular author of crime fiction, with quite a few books to her credit, and some movie adaptations as well. "Shadow Family" (original Japanese title "R.P.G." ) is her second book to be translated into English, following the excellent "All She was Worth."
"Shadow Family" covers the murders of middle-aged husband and father Ryosuke Tokoroda and his college-age lover Naoko Imai. Through the course of the investigation, it is uncovered that Tokoroda had an online "family," where he role-played the loving father to a make-believe wife, daughter and son. In real life he was a cold and selfish philanderer, but online he became the loving, supportive father that every child dreams of.
Aside from a few expositionary chapters, it is a "single-room" mystery, not unlike "12 Angry Men," where all the tension takes place in a police interrogation chamber. The investigators and the suspects engage in a battle of wills, each trying to get the other to slip up and make a mistake, in a fencing match of "Who knows what." One by one Tokoroda's online "family" is called in, while his real-life daughter Kazumi watches from behind the 2-way mirror, peeling away the layers of mystery that were her father.
"Shadow Family" is not as strong a book as "All She was Worth," but is still an engrossing read and a real page-turner. The opening expositionary chapters are slow, and it takes awhile to get into the pace of the book. Once all the players are assembled in the interrogation room, however, the story takes off and the psychological fencing begins.
It is no real challenge to identify the killer, and the "Whodunnit?" joy of the book comes about 2/3 of the way in. From there, it is a pleasure to watch the pieces of the well-laid trap fall into place. Some of the characters are very interesting sketches, and I would love to see them explored in another book, where they are allowed more depth to develop. Unfortunately, at under 200 pages, "Shadow Family" does not allow for deep characters, but is more an exercise of an interesting trap.
Very enjoyable over all, and I will definitely be keeping up with future Miyabe books as they are translated.
Disappointing May 2, 2005
After greatly enjoying the author's "All she was worth" I eagerly anticipated this second English translation of one of her books. Yet, everything that made "All" such a great read is missing here.
Since I mostly agree with the previous reviewer, I will not go into too much plot detail. There is an overdrawn description of the police force, an unnecessarily long interrogation and a weak and predictable conclusion.
Most striking, though, is the enormous difference in quality between this book and "All". While both deal with a timely social problem, consumerism in "All", social isolation and the internet in "Family", both the plot development and quality of the prose are strikingly different. The first book described an interesting search with a number of serene and engaging scenes; here we have a clumsy, poorly developed police procedural that is mediocre at best.
It is too bad that this book shattered my high expectations. While the theme may have yielded a much better book, "Family" gives one the impression of a hurried first draft that could have used an extra half year of writing effort. The Japanese this site page indicates that Miyabe has been highly prolific. I hope that future translations will return to more solid entries in her bibliography.