‘In The Miso Soup,’ by Ryu Murakami

Novel, 1997

Intense, brutal and disarming novel about an American tourist and Tokyo’s seedier nightlife. On the one hand, the tension builds and there’s a momentum which gives this book a thrilling, almost voyeuristic page-turning quality; on the other, both the chances of Kenji and particularly Frank, and the situations they operate in, feel lonely and hostile and so lend the book an almost meditative quality. The settings and atmosphere give the book an appropriately edgy atmosphere, so that while the action peaks with a taste and flash of gore and a nod to slasher movies, the book carries so much more underneath, and takes the reader on a real journey.

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