The long-awaited translation of the novel behind the cult classic Japanese movie.
Library JournalMiddle-aged widower Aoyama has lived alone with his son for a number of years. He recruits a filmmaker friend for a scheme that will help him land the perfect woman; they create a casting call for a movie they don't plan to make, and soon they are facing hundreds of résumés and interviews. They roll up their sleeves and start screening each woman. Unfortunately, Aoyama is fixated on one beautiful ballerina, Yamasaki Asami. Although there is mention of her sordid past, Aoyama isn't fazed, and he doesn't take the time to understand the subtle but dark history of his new love. By the time he realizes that she isn't the innocent he had fallen for, Yamasaki has already drawn him into her depravity. In a shocking turn of events, the two face off in a garish finish. VERDICT This dynamic novel—adapted into the cult classic movie of the same name in 1999—by Murakami, winner of Japan's prestigious literary Akutagawa Prize, moves at breakneck speed and spirals out of control. Not for the squeamish, this is a book you won't put down...until it's too late. Recommended for most libraries, especially in urban locations, with Asian and foreign-film fans.—Ron Samul, New London, CT
Publishers WeeklySeven years after his wife's death, Aoyama, the protagonist of popular Japanese author Murakami's dud chiller, is ready to get on with his life. Aoyama has a strong relationship with his son, Shinge, but the successful businessman needs more than a teenage son to keep him company. So he turns to his friend, Yoshikawa, and the two hatch a plan to hold auditions for a fake movie where the actresses will really be interviewing to date Aoyama. Enter Yamasaki Asami, a former ballet dancer who wants to star in the fake film. Aoyama's smitten, even after it becomes clear that Asami's at least a little crazy. Unfortunately, none of this adds up to a suspenseful story, and the big finale is more uncomfortable than frightening. Murakami's work has what could be a fascinating set of characters, but the uneven pacing and ineffective dialogue provide the only hint of horror the book has to offer. (June)
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