Item description for The Cage by Kenzo Kitakata & Paul Warham...
Kazuya Takino leads a quiet life running a supermarket in the Tokyo suburbs. But when an extortionist tries to force him out of business, he finds himself drawn into the yakuza underworld-a world he once called home and thought he had left behind. Pursuing him is Detective Takagi, an aficionado of French cigarettes and modernist poetry, the most decorated inspector on the Tokyo police force. As the shadowy Maruwa gang engages Takino in an escalating cycle of violence and retaliation, Detective Takagi can only stand by and watch as the beast within Takino is lured further and further out of his cage.
A towering masterpiece of the hardboiled genre, The Cage is at once a searing portrayal of the violence of the Japanese underworld and a tender mediation of the ties of love and friend that can save men from madness-or plunge them deeper into it.
"...a decent dark Japanese underworld thriller." - The Complete Review
"I was extremely pleased with this book, as I was with "Ashes" and "Winter Sleep"." -Novedge
Kenzo Kitakata is the undisputed don of hardboiled and mystery writing in Japan, where he has received numerous literary awards. The Cage won the Japan Mystery Writers Association Award and is his third novel to appear in English. His American debut Ashes was one of Las Vegas Mercury's 10 Best Novels of 2003, a BookSense Selection, and a Village Voice Summer Read.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.6 lbs.
Release Date Sep 5, 2006
ISBN 1932234241 ISBN13 9781932234244
Availability 0 units.
More About Kenzo Kitakata & Paul Warham
Kenzo Kitakata is the undisputed don of hardboiled and mystery writing in Japan, where he has received numerous literary awards. "The Cage" won the Japan Mystery Writers Association Award and is his third novel to appear in English. His American debut "Ashes" was one of "Las Vegas Mercury's" 10 Best Novels of 2003, a BookSense Selection, and a "Village Voice" Summer Read.
Supermarket owner, Kazuya Takino isn't overly happy with his life. His marriage has grown stale and running a supermarket for the past five years is hardly a thrill a minute, especially for a man who once belonged to a gang. When dead rats show up in his freezers and red dye in the jugs of milk, Takino treats this as more of an annoyance than a catastrophe. He's a resourceful guy and not one to back down from a fight. While he's sorting out business problems, Takino takes a mistress and tries to help old friend and former gang member, Takayasu, get a thug named Sugimura and his girlfriend out of Japan. And that's when things get complicated. Not only are the police after the escapees, but so is a powerful gang.
The underlying tone of emptiness, monotony, and disenchantment make this story part noir and part police procedural, as point of view switches increasingly to the police officer in charge of investigating Sugimura's disappearance. Adding to the bleak tone and tension, is what's not being said between characters. Unfortunately, this also made it difficult to connect with them. Despite all of Takino's inner monologue, he wasn't a character I warmed up to. And given his actions, I didn't care what happened to him, or others, by the end of the story.
Also difficult was the similarity of many Japanese names. Takino, Takayasu and Takagi are three main character names which took time to sort out. And don't get me started on the numerous street and city name so they all just blurred together. If you're familiar with Japanese geography or the language, though, this won't be a problem, and since this novel was translated to English, the primary audience was likely Japanese readers. Still, if you want some insight to the country's middle-class life, gangs, and police methodology, then THE CAGE is worth reading.
A Yakuza Story With Depth Sep 24, 2006
The two main characters, one a gangster, the other a cop, are both just going through the motions of living. Their emotional lives are a barren wasteland. They are heavy drinkers, they have mind-numbing hobbies, and families that hold no interest for them. The cop feels he has great insight into the gangster, but that is only because the gangster's behavior is so overt. He doesn't recognize the same traits in himself, which makes for a nicely complex cat-and-mouse game.
The narrative tension builds gradually, but continues building right to the very last page. Along the way, we are served up a compelling plot, as well as rich insights into the details of life and crime in Tokyo. I caught myself humming audibly with anticipation as events came to their very satisfying conclusion.
I was extremely pleased with this book, as I was with "Ashes" and "Winter Sleep" (of which I am still the only reviewer as of today - hasn't anyone discovered Kitakata yet?) Please buy this book to encourage his publishers to hurry up an translate more of his work!