Me: A Novel

(Author) (Afterword by)
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$15.95  $14.83
Akashic Books, Ltd.
Publish Date
5.2 X 8.2 X 0.8 inches | 0.53 pounds

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About the Author
Tomoyuki Hoshino was born in 1965 in Los Angeles, but moved to Japan when he was two. He made his debut as a writer in 1997 with the novella The Last Gasp, which won the Bungei Prize. His novel The Mermaid Sings Wake Up won the Mishima Yukio Prize, and Fantasista was awarded the Noma Literary New Face Prize. His other novels include Lonely Hearts Killer and The Tale of Rainbow and Chloe. ME is his latest novel.

Kenzaburo Oe is considered one of the most dynamic and revolutionary writers to have emerged in Japan since World War II, and is acknowledged as the first truly modern Japanese writer. He is known for his powerful accounts of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and his struggle to come to terms with a mentally handicapped son. His prolific body of work has won almost every major international honor, including the 1989 Prix Europalia and the 1994 Nobel Prize for Literature. His many translated works include A Personal Matter (1964), Teach Us to Outgrow Our Madness (1969), The Silent Cry (1967), Hiroshima Notes (1965), and Nip the Buds, Shoot the Kids (1958).
In Hoshino's dystopia, identities are fluid and any one is as good as another . . . Hoshino's ambitious novel is pleasingly uncomfortable.-- "Publishers Weekly"
Part existential fable, part Night of the Living Dead, Mr. Hoshino's inventive novel, accessibly translated by Charles De Wolf, paints a nightmare vision of Japan's rootless millennials, who work grinding dead-end jobs that leave them little time for family or individual passions . . . At first Hitoshi and his fellow MEs are happy to band together against an uncaring world. But the camaraderie doesn't last, since every time one reveals a character flaw the others take it as an indictment of themselves. As the MEs' failures and weaknesses become intolerably magnified onto the 'living but useless rabble' they're gripped by a suicidal impulse that unleashes a crazed murder spree. The frenetic, knife-wielding finale reaches its climax in--a McDonald's, of course. None of them can think of any place else to eat.-- "Wall Street Journal"
ME is a searing critique of how the individual's sense of self erodes under the weight of modern urban culture in Japan. As Hoshino tilts the reader into a schizophrenic questioning of identity, it is easy to forget how the story started: a common, two-bit crime in a McDonald's. The ease with which Hoshino leads Hitoshi--and the reader--into a vertiginous alternate reality is so seamless that the novel requires a second read to fully appreciate its nuances. A testament to Hoshino's imagination and ambition, ME is a delightfully surprising and bizarre story which develops into a masterful interrogation of how individuals and families come to terms with themselves in an ever-evolving society that is often just as confused as the people themselves.-- "Harvard Review Online"
The imaginative story of a rather unimaginative camera salesman, ME features Hitoshi Nagano; his troubles begin with his impulsive theft of a cell phone from another customer at a McDonalds. They end with a post-apocalyptic future for everyone in Japan.-- "New York Journal of Books"
Mr. Hoshino's superb talent allows for a development of the richly imaginative details that is completely natural, without any hint of forced contrivances . . . There is a clear distinction to be seen here between ME and the sort of television drama or potboiler fiction already available that take up telephone fraud as a social topic. Nor does the novel allow itself to slip into simplistic allegory. The weight of reality it creates reflects the substantiality of the author's prowess. [Chapters 3 and 4] surpass even Kobo Abe, Japan's great forerunner in the power of literary thought. The author has leaped to a higher level.--Kenzaburo Oe, Nobel Prize-winning author of The Silent Cry, from the afterword