Friday, 2 November 2012

Review: The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

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Title: The Thief
Author: Fuminori Nakamura
Publisher: Corsair (Constable & Robinson)
Published: August 2012
ISBN: 978 178033 9139

Rating: 3/5

The cover on this is glossy white with the title being black with a couple of metallic red accents on two of the letters within the title.  The spine and back cover is more eye catching, with the title on the spine being in white and red lettering, with a back background so it stands out.  The back cover is glossy red with both black and white annotations from reviews.  Based on the cover this is probably a book I wouldn’t have picked up, as I like graphics on book covers, but the spine makes a difference on this.

The Thief is Nakamura’s first book to be translated from Japanese.  I found the book flowed really well.  The Thief tells the story of a Tokyo pickpocket who is spiralling towards his fate.  At just over 200 pages long, this is a fast paced thriller which packs a lot of information within its pages.   

The pickpocket shows how he perfected his art, and continues to live off his ill-gotten gains.  He tries to keep his distance from a potential young protégé, knowing his life is not one he wants to share or encourage another to take part in.  On the flip side he offers advice along with lifelong tips on how to be a good thief so his little follower doesn’t get caught.  He reluctantly intervenes when he realises a mother has taught her young child to steal, and that the child’s life is a living hell.  From that moment on he develops a kinship with the child and rather than ending up like a pick-pockets how to guide, he ends up helping the boy and did his good deed for the book, which seemed bittersweet with his own history.

I thought the book had a bit of an odd ending – but considering the path he’d chosen in his life it wasn’t really an unexpected ending.  I thought the man who manipulated everyone was very dangerous from the outset, and couldn’t help but feel extremely sorry for the thief and his choices, or lack of possibilities.  All in all a very quick read which brought home the fact we all have different paths.

Book synopsis:
The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly sometimes he doesn't even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him, nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections...But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears in his life, and offers him a job he can't refuse. It's an easy job: tie up an old rich man, steal the contents of the safe. No one gets hurt. Only the day after the job does he learn that the old man was a prominent politician, and that he was brutally killed after the robbery. And now the Thief is caught in a tangle even he might not be able to escape.

Source – Many thanks to the publisher, a copy was received in return for an honest review.

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