The White Man and the Pachinko Girl: A Novel (Tokyo Faces) (Volume 1)

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9781522742678: The White Man and the Pachinko Girl: A Novel (Tokyo Faces) (Volume 1)
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Meet Smith, an American business man who got sent to work in the Tokyo office: There was no place in Ikebukuro, Tokyo at 10 pm every night like this enormous Pachinko parlor called the “Passage”. Recently renovated, this huge gambling establishment that could easily be mistaken as a ladies’ department store by the unknowing eyes of the foreigners because of its blazingly fluorescent white-light lit entrance way and a grandiose lobby lit by equally intense light bulbs of no less than two, three hundred in quantity, cleverly arranged on the ceiling and behind the translucent floorboards to direct all the stumbling pedestrians from the relative gloominess of the outside world to the top of the staircase where the gambling activities were concentrated, was convulsing with violent laughter and angry cries over a collage of noises coming from the Pachinko slot machines. As if vying for attention, the pre-recorded voices of young females seemingly from the under-clad cartoon characters depicted on the cover of the plastic light boxes of the machine grew ever more high-pitched and pushy when too much time had gone by in idleness after the last customer left, full-handed or empty-handed. With shrewdness of jealous girlfriends in their choices of words to seduce their married lovers into the endless abyss of disloyalty and ensuing unhappy divorces, the internal computer of these Pachinkos would carefully select new sales pitches based on the length of its idle time and the weight of the reservoir where all the pinballs were collected. Eventually, they would be rewarded by the pinball that pushed through the plastic flaps at the inserting slots and be triggered into a frenzy activated mode consisting of even more shrilly sales pitches and blinking tiny light bulbs arranged on the upright panels in a diamond or heart shape. And then they would greet the white-collar man who, typically, either had too much to drink or too heavy a briefcase to carry to continue on his search for the lucky machine of the night, and settled down on the comfort of the worn out leather stool before a particular machine that seemed to forebode a great conclusion to his lonesome, trying day at work, and tried his luck. Among one of these cheerless men who were only occasionally stirred to irritation by the clanking sound of steel balls pouring out in an enviously large quantity into the winning buckets of their lucky yet despicable neighbors, was a white man in his fifties spotting a wrinkly gray suit called Smith. Meet Misa, a girl who lost her identity, surviving on multiple jobs in Tokyo city. For someone without memory of the past, it was hard to have very personal conversations with others where inevitably some tidbits of their live were supposed to be exchanged as a sign of trust, of compassion. It was not to say that Misa had no compassion. Compassion she had a great deal, for she had a good imagination. She could imagine herself being in the shoes of others, of their happiness, of their pain. She could say the most comforting phrases to others who needs them but it made her feel guilty sometimes. Sometimes she caught herself totally convinced of a reconstructed reality built from things other people have told her. Other times she could not tell those were not her actual memories. Sooner or later she would forget even these fabricated memories. The White Man and the Pachinko Girl is book one in the Tokyo Faces series by Vann Chow, an epic tale between two persons, the American man named Smith and the Japanese girl Misa, whose paths crossed in the mystical modern city of Japan.

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About the Author:

Vann Chow is Chinese and was born in Hong Kong. She started writing stories in English when she was 19, and through them she hoped to share her unique experience and insights from living abroad and interacting with people from all kinds of cultural and social backgrounds with the wider world. Her stories often confront cultural, human rights and social issues. Oscar Wilde, William Somerset Maugham and Alain De Botton are some of her favorite authors.

Review:

"I read The White Man and the Pachinko Girl in one sitting. I was completely transported to Tokyo, Japan, forgetting where I was. It was an epic novel. Vann's story is emotionally complex and filled with passion. I am sure it will captivate readers from East and West." ― Damien Baker, writer. 
"Vann has a unique knowledge of the Japan. Her perspective feeds my interest in their often contradictory but nonetheless endlessly fascinating culture. " ― Leanne Kalney, writer. 
"The White Man and the Pachinko Girl is the ultimate psychological thriller featuring Japan." ― Eden Watts, blogger. 
"I found The White Man and the Pachinko Girl absolutely riveting! I started reading it one night after supper with every intention of reading just a few chapters for that evening and could not put it down. Not only is it an emotionally engaging story with well-drawn characters whom you grow to care about deeply, but it is also entertaining. Read this book. It will keep you guessing throughout about the three main protagonists, Smith, Misa and Tanaka, all of them with something to hide from the world which would bring the story of one unnamed girl together."  ― Liz Spence, blogger.

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