The author takes a serious theme and serves it up in a highly entertaining form. The central character is a bright, attractive, and strongwilled single woman working in the male-dominated environment of a major daily newspaper. One of her editorials angers a powerful supporter of the ruling political party; the government puts pressure on her through the newspaper; and the woman retaliates, using a network of friends and relatives - including an actress who was once closely involved with the prime minister, and a fellow journalist with writer's block - to defend herself. The result is a slyly accurate picture of contemporary Japan that not only tells us about the role of women there in the 1990s, and about bribery and coercion at the highest levels of society, but treats us to the sort of brilliant gossip that makes a good novel great fun to read.
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Saiichi Maruya (b. 1925) was a professor of English literature before becoming a fulltime writer some twenty years ago. His Joyce research is famous, but he has also translated a number of Graham Greene's "entertainments" into Japanese. What probably most affected him as a writer, in fact, was the way the modern English novel could be serious in a light, amusing manner. His novel Singular Rebellion was thus an act of rebellion itself when it first appeared in 1972, going against the mainstream of Japan's sombre, confessional modern literature. Even so, it won the prestigious Tanizaki Prize for that year, and he has since won most other available awards, becoming one of his country's most eminent novelists.
The Translator: Dennis Keene, an English poet who lived and taught in Japan for many years, is known for his impressive translations of Mono Kita's House of Nire and Maruya's Singular Rebellion and Rain in the Wind, among other works of Japanese fiction.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
There was a screen immediately opposite the door, but beyond it Masako saw a large room, some fifty feet square or more, with, on the right, three low tables and six chairs arranged neatly about them, all upholstered in the same colour. In front of her, Shingo Tarnaru was now seated on a sofa, and indicated that she should come and join him. He smiled in a natural and welcoming way, but she noticed he also looked a little sheepish.
Masako was overwhelmed to think she hadn't met this man for well over thirty years. But this wasn't just someone who had exchanged his good looks for old age. Certainly he looked older, much older, but he had a new dignity and strength, and he was also attractive in a way that didn't come across in his photographs or on television. He had the serenity of someone watching over things, and it seemed absolutely right that he should be up in the middle of the night going through his papers. He wore corduroy trousers with a rather faded shirt, a cardigan draped over his shoulders, and his casual appearance seemed to emphasise the feeling of energy he generated, the vitality of a man at the peak of his career. His hair, she saw, was not so much white as only half grey, and she felt she ought to revise her first impression that this was an elderly man.
Tamaru gestured before him with his hand (something he always did when he wasn't quite sure what to do with a visitor) and said, pointing out the obvious:
"That's the desk I work at."
On the wall behind the desk were portraits of the emperor and empress, and to one side a tripod holding the national flag, making it all look rather like a headmaster"s study, although a headmaster"s room would not have been as large as this, of course. He then pointed to another, smaller desk in the right-hand corner.
"And that telephone there," he said, "is the hot line."
Masako gave a little gasp, although she wasn"t in the least impressed, or even interested, having no idea what a hot line was.
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Book Description Kodansha International (JPN), 1995. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P114770018649
Book Description Kodansha International (JPN). Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 4770018649 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1777037