Item description for Coin Locker Babies by Ryu Murakami & Stephen Snyder...
A surreal coming-of-age tale that establishes Ryu Murakami as one of the most inventive young writers in the world today. Abandoned at birth in adjacent train station lockers, two troubled boys spend their youth in an orphanage and with foster parents on a semi-deserted island before finally setting off for the city to find and destroy the women who first rejected them. Both are drawn to an area of freaks and hustlers called Toxitown. One becomes a bisexual rock singer, star of this exotic demimonde, while the other, a pole vaulter, seeks his revenge in the company of his girlfriend, Anemone, a model who has converted her condominium into a tropical swamp for her pet crocodile. Together and apart, their journey from a hot metal box to a stunning, savage climax is a brutal funhouse ride through the eerie landscape of late-twentieth-century Japan.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1" Width: 5.5" Height: 7.5" Weight: 1.1 lbs.
Release Date Aug 9, 2002
Publisher Kodansha International
ISBN 4770028962 ISBN13 9784770028969
Availability 0 units.
More About Ryu Murakami & Stephen Snyder
Ryu Murakami is the best-selling author of more than a dozen novels and the winner of Japan's prestigious literary award, the Akutagawa Prize. Many of his novels have been made into movies, including Audition. He lives in Japan.
Reviews - What do customers think about Coin Locker Babies?
Ugly yet Beautiful Aug 13, 2007
A work of fiction that is at once lovely and harsh at times, Coin Locker Babies was the first novel at the conclusion of which i immediately returned to page 1 to read it again. The story line is pretty unpredictable, a quality I tend to enjoy about foreign novels, but the imagery is what really made me fall in love with the book. Murakami's ability to describe a scene (aided by the top-notch translation) is such that they actually appear before my eyes without effort or intention on my part. His descriptions of the thoughts and feelings of the characters is accurate to the point of being scary. His knack of drawing my mind into this world can be related to Hashi's vocal skills as he describes them. A truly stunning work. I am anticipating the release of the film version in 2008 with almost as much zeal as i have for this, my third reading of the novel.
welllll Jul 7, 2007
Nobody likes a bad review but I just want to prepare you. This is the bleakest of the bleak postmodern Japanese novels (that I've read at least). It is full of senseless and predictable violence and self-destruction that all basically happens to prove a point -- people's bleak futures are determined by their haunting pasts. I give it 2 stars because the existence of this book balances out a lot of novels that ignore the illnesses in society -- poverty, violence, etc -- in modern Japan or even the world. The book is shocking, and to an extent this is good medicine. But I think it's overkill.
I prefer, and recommend, Murakami Ryu's In the Miso Soup. It is shocking and violent as well, to be sure, but I feel more thought provoking, interesting, and a quicker read.
Murakami: Literary Contortionist Jun 29, 2006
Recent events have blown the lid off the view of Japan as a pocket of social stability, obedience and honor. The Aum cult's nerve gas attacks, lurid tales of the Japanese mafia (the Yakuza), widespread political corruption, guns on the streets, and the government's failure to effectively respond to the victims of the Kobe earthquake have revealed the seems of a society long regarded as airtight and orderly.
Ryu Murakami's latest novel, Coin Locker Babies, is a brilliantly inspired coming-of-age tale set in this increasingly amorphous, dark underbelly of modern Japan. Hashi and Kiku, both abandoned at birth by their mother in the coin lockers of a Tokyo train station, are rescued and sent to an orphanage where they are the subjects of an experiment that exposes them to subliminal sound and film. Eventually adopted by a family on a remote Japanese island, the boys are both guided and haunted by those subversive hypnotic impressions--the constant rhythm of a woman's heart beating accompanied by images of animals running across an opening range--as they grow up exploring the lush natural environment of their new home.
Models of rejection and alienation, Hashi and Kiku develop separate ways of coping with their condition. While working as a prostitute in Toxitown, Hashi's otherworldly voice is discovered by an unscrupulous pimp (Mr. D), and he becomes an overnight pop-star sensation. His singing actually induces the audience into a deep trance where the emotions, images, and sensations of their lives play out in languid stream-of-consciousness sequences. Hashi believes he can heal the world with his vocal cords and campy stage productions, which fall somewhere between Ziggy Stardust and Liberace.
Kiku become a championship pole vaulter. Outwardly, he's the strong and silent type, but beneath the surface rages the angst of a man hell-bent on destroying Tokyo as revenge for his abandonment. His quest for Datura, a poison eerily echoing the Sarin used in the Tokyo subway gassings, leads him on several adventures, finally to a mysterious government test site in a cave beneath the ocean.
Coin Locker Babies establishes Murakami as a writer to watch. While tempting to compare his work to the troubled youth stories of J. D. Salinger and S. E. Hinton, it's probably more accurate to place him in the context of contemporaries such as Mark Richard (Fishboy; Doubleday, 1993) and Patrick Süskind (Perfume; Knopf, 1986).
Murukami is a literary contortionist, effortlessly shifting between elements of cyber culture, absurdism, existentialism, and magical realism; all of this offset by soaring descriptions of nature, the senses, and the darkness that lurks beneath. In this way, Murakami masters the transition from the roar of apocalyptic chaos to the tranquility of a quiet meditation. The effect is dazzling and surprisingly lucid.
Got me into Japanese fiction and suspense Mar 14, 2006
I read this book about 3 years ago and what I remember the most was that the first page invoked a kind of emotion that I can't quite describe. Murakami's writing is so vivid in detail, but unlike many writers, every single word is important. I've read 2 of his other novels, but this, in my opinion is the best.
A coin that sinks Oct 21, 2005
I first came across Mr. Murakami 's works through my best friend ,who was into Japanese avant garde writing ,about 5 years ago. Since then, i have been a big fan of him and have recommended his works to alot of my other friends as well. What really seduced me into his works are how he deals with the "nihilism. " nature, and that how factual his works to reality actually are. He stands for something where alot of his contemporary have tried and failed. "Coin Locker Babies", arguably his most famous works, is no exception to that assertion..
"Coin" has always been my favorite book of his. And as mentioned in the introduction, the "nihilism. " nature in here is alive and well. He usually uses mundane, gory perspective so adopt by few to explain his plots.; he uses that very effectively here. The most notable (without spoiling anything to anyone) has to be the beginning of the text, whereas the twin infantile were place in an abandoned locker while their mom gavethem a mouthful. Deceptively done yet vaguely speaking tone made this a heavy triumphin usual Murakami fashion. This scene helps set up not just the vile tone in the atmosphere, but also how this two child will eventually grow up to become as well.I would not give out their names as it will spoil an integral parts of the story, so just bear in mind obsession and destruction are how I will describe their alter ego which they will eventually become
Alot of folks will probably never get a chances to see this Edgar Allan Poe of our age. And i hope whoever is reading this don't be one of those fools, go do yourself a favor; i urge you to buy this book once and for all. It will sink your world.