Reviews - What do customers think about Strangers?
A modern Japanese ghost story Sep 2, 2007
A middle-aged, cynical and now divorced TV scriptwriter Harada is living a lonely self-contained life in his work-come-apartment when on the spur of the moment he returns to the dilapidated downtown district of Tokyo where he grew up. Orphaned at an early age and raised first by his grandfather and then his Uncle, Harada is very much removed from human emotions, unhappy but not knowing understanding that he is unhappy he is looking for something that he is not able to find in the modern world that he has to live in.
Whilst wandering through his old childhood home he visits a theatre and meets a man who looks exactly like his long-dead father with a wife who is the image of his equally long dead mother.
And so begins Harada's journey into the land of strangers, as he's drawn into a reality where his parents appear to be alive at the exact age they had been when they had died so many years before.
Is he living a dream? Are these people real? What is happening to him? A spooky ghost story with a modern twist, well worth a read.
It depends on what you like.... Jul 14, 2007
I once read a negative review that stated if you like books about...then this is for you. I DID like books like that,so I gave the review a positive despite the low rating. I'll try and do the same here.
This is a very well written ghost story; certainly way above the standard fare. A 47 year old TV scriptwriter, newly divorced living an isolated life in a commecial apartment block where the only other resident is Kei, returns to his birth town and meets a couple who are the spit of his parents who were killed 35 years previously. He also worries about Kei's lonliness and how his rebuff may have affected her... The book touches themes of loss and lonliness,but never departs from being what it essentially is-a ghost story.
This book didn't satisfy me as I simply don't like ghost tales unless they explore some area of the human psyche in some profound way, and Yamadas book came accross to me as the work of a TV scriptwriter (which Yamada is) rather than that of a great novelist. Having read Carson McCullers 'The Heart is a lonely hunter' and using this as a benchmark on the themes touched by Yamada, I was never going to be satisfied on that score either. And the ending seemed a little contrived for my taste. But if you enjoy a well written ghost tale that evokes Japan and doesn't get bogged down in exploring heavy themes any more than to just make them felt, and you like to visualize what the film of the book will be when you read, this could be for you!
Uniquely compelling small novel Mar 15, 2007
This is a small story, expertly told - with several nice twists to contravene the expectations for magical realism set early in the book.
Nicely written, gripping novel about death Apr 3, 2006
Taichi Yamada takes us to the world of a Tv producer from Tokyo, who after a painful divorce gets in touch with his dead parents.Are they ghosts? were they ever dead? Everyone can relate to the character's predicaments since we all wished at some point of our lives to meet a dead loved one again. That is what makes this ghost story human and realistic to a certain extent. The main character however sees himself affected negatively by these ecounters, and he is in for a very big surprise. This book makes you think, but it's fast paced and very enjoyable at the same time.
Fast fun and interesting book Dec 18, 2005
This is a great ghost story where nothing makes sense until the end. It`s about a divorced man in Tokyo who has had a very sad life. His parents died when he was a child and he was sent to work on a farm in Aichi prefecture. After University he becomes a T.V. writer and marries. Several years after that his marriage falls apart and his health falls apart and he is visited by the ghost of his parents and meets a mysterious woman. It`s a fantastic book.