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The Thief
The Thief の表紙
The Thief
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A literary crime masterpiece that follows a Japanese pickpocket lost to the machinations of fate. Bleak and oozing existential dread, The Thief is simply unforgettable.

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

A literary crime masterpiece that follows a Japanese pickpocket lost to the machinations of fate. Bleak and oozing existential dread, The Thief is simply unforgettable.

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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引用-
  • Chapter One

    When I was a kid, I often messed this up.
    In crowded shops, in other people's houses,
    things I'd pick up furtively would slip from my fingers.
    Strangers' possessions were like foreign objects that
    didn't fit comfortably in my hands. They would tremble
    faintly, asserting their independence, and before I knew
    it they'd come alive and fall to the ground. The point of
    contact, which was intrinsically morally wrong, seemed
    to be rejecting me. And in the distance there was always
    the tower. Just a silhouette floating in the mist like some
    ancient daydream. But I don't make mistakes like that
    these days. And naturally I don't see the tower either.

    In front of me a man in his early sixties was walking
    towards the platform, in a black coat with a silver suitcase
    in his right hand. Of all the passengers here, I was sure
    he was the richest. His coat was Brunello Cucinelli, and
    so was his suit. His Berluti shoes, probably made to order,
    did not show even the slightest scuffmarks. His wealth
    was obvious to everyone around him. The silver watch
    peeping out from the cuff on his left wrist was a Rolex
    Datejust. Since he wasn't used to taking the bullet train
    by himself, he was having some trouble buying a ticket.
    He stooped forward, his thick fingers hovering over the
    vending machine uncertainly like revolting caterpillars. At
    that moment I saw his wallet in the left front pocket of his
    jacket.

    Keeping my distance, I got on the escalator, got off at a
    leisurely pace. With a newspaper in my hand, I stood behind
    him as he waited for the train. My heart was beating a little
    fast. I knew the position of all the security cameras on this
    platform. Since I only had a platform ticket, I had to finish
    the job before he boarded the train. Blocking the view of
    the people to my right with my back, I folded the paper
    as I switched it to my left hand. Then I lowered it slowly
    to create a shield and slipped my right index and middle
    fingers into his coat pocket. The fluorescent light glinted
    faintly off the button on his cuff, sliding at the edge of my
    vision. I breathed in gently and held it, pinched the corner
    of the wallet and pulled it out. A quiver ran from my fingertips
    to my shoulder and a warm sensation gradually spread
    throughout my body. I felt like I was standing in a void, as
    though with the countless intersecting lines of vision of
    all those people, not one was directed at me. Maintaining
    the fragile contact between my fingers and the wallet, I
    sandwiched it in the folded newspaper. Then I transferred
    the paper to my right hand and put it in the inside pocket
    of my own coat. Little by little I breathed out, conscious of
    my temperature rising even more. I checked my surroundings,
    only my eyes moving. My fingers still held the tension
    of touching a forbidden object, the numbness of entering
    someone's personal space. A trickle of sweat ran down my
    back. I took out my cell phone and pretended to check my
    email as I walked away.

    I went back to the ticket gate and down the gray stairs
    towards the Marunouchi line. Suddenly one of my eyes
    blurred, and all the people moving around me seemed to
    shimmer, their silhouettes distorted. When I reached the
    platform I spotted a man in a black suit out of the corner
    of my eye. I located his wallet by the slight bulge in the
    right back pocket of his trousers. From his appearance
    and demeanor I judged him to be a successful male companion
    at a ladies-only club. He was looking quizzically at
    his phone, his slender fingers moving busily over the keys.
    I got on the...

著者の関して-
  • Fuminori Nakamura was born in 1977 and graduated from Fukushima University in 2000. He has won numerous prizes for his writing, including the Oe Prize, Japan's largest literary award, and the prestigious Akutagawa Prize. The Thief, his first novel to be translated into English, was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. He is the recipient of the David L. Goodis Award for Noir Fiction. He lives in Tokyo with his wife.

レビュー-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    January 9, 2012
    Nakamura makes his English-language debut with this compelling look at a Tokyo pickpocket’s life. The thief, eventually identified as Nishimura, leads an anonymous existence dependent on his ability to become as physically close as possible to others without drawing the slightest attention. Crime fans won’t be surprised when outside entanglements compromise the peerlessly expert and solo Nishimura. While taking a protective interest in a prostitute’s young son, a budding thief in his own right, Nishimura also becomes involved, at his former partner Ishiwaka’s behest, with a home invasion. After the raid leaves an elderly politician dead, Nishimura finds himself under the thumb of its planner, the mysterious criminal mastermind Kizaki. Nakamura’s memorable antihero, at once as believably efficient as Donald Westlake’s Parker and as disaffected as a Camus protagonist, will impress genre and literary readers alike.

  • Library Journal

    February 15, 2012

    Handpicked by Nobel laureate Kenzaburo O e for his eponymous O e Prize in 2009, Nakamura--who has also garnered many of Japan's other top awards (the Noma Literary New Face Prize, the coveted Akutagawa Prize)--makes his stateside debut-in-translation. Disguised as fast-paced, shock-fueled crime fiction, this work resonates even more as a treatise on contemporary disconnect and paralyzing isolation. The protagonist--a virtuoso pickpocket with Robin Hood tendencies--agrees to participate in what initially seems to be a simple robbery for a lucrative fee, only to become inescapably embroiled with the Tokyo crime world's omnipotent elite. Meanwhile, his last tenuous connection to society is a desperate young boy forced into clumsy shoplifting by his addicted, prostitute mother. With nowhere left to run, the thief must barter his life with a labyrinthine test of his thieving prowess. VERDICT Mystery/crime aficionados with exacting literary standards, as well as readers familiar with already established-in-translation Japanese writers Miyuki Miyabe (Shadow Family), Natsuo Kirino (Out; Grotesque), and Keigo Higashino (The Devotion of Suspect X), will especially enjoy discovering Nakamura.--Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Wall Street Journal, Best Book of the Year Selection Praise for The ThiefA Los Angeles Times Book Prize 2013 Finalist A Wall Street Journal Best Fiction of 2012 Selection A World Literature Today Notable Translation An Amazon Best Mystery/Thriller of the Month Winner of Japan's Prestigious Ōe Prize "The Thief brings to mind Highsmith, Mishima and Doestoevsky . . . A chilling existential thriller leaving readers in doubt without making them feel in any way cheated."
  • Tor.com "Citing the influence of Dostoyevsky and Kafka, Nakamura is a master of atmosphere, blending elements of surrealism, existentialism and crime fiction to create a grim, colorless, noire Tokyo."
  • Publishers Weekly "Nakamura's writing is spare, taut, with riveting descriptions . . . Nakamura conjures dread, and considers philosophical questions of fate and control . . . For all the thief's anonymity, we come to know his skill, his powerlessness and his reach for life." --Cleveland Plain Dealer "Nakamura's memorable antihero, at once as believably efficient as Donald Westlake's Parker and as disaffected as a Camus protagonist, will impress genre and literary readers alike."
  • Library Journal "Compulsively readable for its portrait of a dark, crumbling, graffiti-scarred Tokyo--and the desire to understand the mysterious thief." --Booklist "Disguised as fast-paced, shock-fueled crime fiction, Thief resonates even more as a treatise on contemporary disconnect and paralyzing isolation."
  • The Japan Times "Nakamura's dark imagination gives rise to his literary world . . . the influences of Kafka and Dostoyevsky are not hard to spot."
  • ForeWord "Fast-paced, elegantly written, and rife with the symbols of inevitability."
  • Suspense Magazine "The Thief manages to wrap you up in its pages, tightly, before you are quite aware of it." --Mystery Scene "[An] extremely well-written tale . . . Readers will be enthralled by this story that offers an extremely surprising ending."
  • Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine "The reader catches glimpses of Japan and its lifestyle, which is far from a pretty picture."
  • International Noir Fiction "Nakamura succeeds in creating a complicated crime novel in which the focus is not on the crimes themselves but rather on the psychology and physicality of the criminal. The book's power inheres in the voice of the thief, which is itself as meticulously rendered as the thief's every action." --Three Percent "Both a crime thriller and a character study, it is a unique and engrossing read, keeping a distant yet thoughtful eye on the people it follows . . . It's a haunting undercurrent, making The Thief a book that's hard to shake once you've read it." --Mystery People "The drily philosophical tone and the noir atmosphere combine perfectly, providing a rapid and enjoyable 'read' that is nonetheless cool and distant, provoking the reader to think about (as much as experience) the tale."
  • Out of the Gutter Magazine "More than a crime novel, The Thief is a narrative that delves deep into the meaning of theft and the nature of justice . . . Japanese crime fiction has a new star."
  • Dolce Bellezza Blog "So many issues are raised in this novel. It is wonderfully brief, and spare, much like something Hemingway would write."
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Fuminori Nakamura
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