All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
All She Was Worth

All She Was Worth

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by Miyuki Miyabe
     
 

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When a beautiful Japanese woman vanishes, is she a victim, a killer, or both? In a country that tracks its citizens at every turn, how can two women claim the same identity and then disappear without a trace?

Overview

When a beautiful Japanese woman vanishes, is she a victim, a killer, or both? In a country that tracks its citizens at every turn, how can two women claim the same identity and then disappear without a trace?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The horror in this beautifully fashioned tale of stolen identity lies not in the cold-blooded crimes but in the motive-a desperate hunger for consumer goods. Shunsuke Honma, a widowed 43-year-old Tokyo police inspector with a 10-year-old son, is on disability leave. The boring cycle of idleness punctuated by painful physical therapy sessions comes to a halt when a nephew asks for Honma's help in finding his missing fiance, whom he knows as Shoko Sekine. As Honma's search intensifies, he realizes the fiance had actually assumed Sekine's identity and possibly killed her. For the American reader, the jewel in this enormously compelling novel is the portrait of working- and middle-class Japanese getting caught in a cycle of astronomical personal debt in order to enjoy the good life. Also eye-opening is Japan's elaborate registry system for keeping track of its citizenry. In order to become Shoko Sekine, the impostor had to perpetrate an ingeniously elaborate series of hoaxes and lies. Honma is tenacious, methodical, an attentive listener with a retentive memory and the ability to connect disparate bits of information. The trail takes him back through the real Sekine's history and into the life of the other woman, whose family ran afoul of vicious loan sharks. Miyabe drives her complex plot with spare prose, combining expert pacing and psychological nuance to ultimately haunting effect. (Feb.) FYI: All She Was worth was named Best Novel of the year and Best Mystery for 1992 in Japan.
Library Journal
This popular Japanese writer's work, translated admirably well, offers finely detailed narrative, Tokyo backdrops, and an approachable police detective. Shunsuke Honma, the 42-year-old investigator, looks for a young woman while recuperating from a gunshot wound. Honma soon discovers that a relative's missing fiance had more to hide than a bankruptcy in her past: she assumed another woman's identity and may have killed to do so. Honma struggles with this unofficial job, with his young son, and with self-doubt-all of which add subtle complication and psychological depth to a masterful plot. Super work from an award-winning author.
Kirkus Reviews
In preparation for his marriage to Shoko Sekine, Jun Kurisaka urges her to apply for a credit card in her own name. But when the application comes back refused, with a notation that all the major credit companies have blacklisted the applicant because of the consumer debt that led to her bankruptcy back in 1987, Shoko stammers, blanches, and next day runs out on her fiancé. Why did she act so shocked? Jun asks his uncle, Shunsuke Honma, a Tokyo homicide inspector conveniently on sick leave with a bullet wound. Honma's reluctant conclusion: because Shoko didn't know about her own bankruptcy—because she wasn't really Shoko Sekine at all but an impostor who'd assumed her identity. But this answer leaves Honma with a dozen more disturbing questions. How could an impostor have known enough about Shoko to take over her life so easily? If she knew her so well, why didn't she know about the bankruptcy? What's become of the real Shoko—and of the woman who just stepped out of her shoes as lightly as she stepped into them three years ago? And answering these questions will put sedate Honma in turn in the impostor's shoes, as he backtracks on her trail and uncovers a dark parable of Japan's frantic race toward an Americanized consumer economy.

Miyabe's first English translation was named Best Mystery of 1992 in Japan. Fans of Ross Macdonald and Julian Symons will have no trouble seeing why.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9784770019226
Publisher:
Kodansha International
Publication date:
02/01/1997
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
6.39(w) x 9.26(h) x 1.16(d)

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