Author(s): Fuminori Nakamura
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.
A Toyko pickpocket commits one crime too many - and finds himself way out of his depth. A taut, stylish noir thriller from one of the most feted new voices in Japanese fiction.
A masterpiece in miniature ... wonderfully deft ... The Thief seems destined to become a landmark thriller. Daily Mail An intelligent, compelling and surprisingly moving tale, and highly recommended. -- Laura Wilson The Guardian Nakamura's achievement is to dovetail the various elements in the most adroit of fashions, producing a mesmeric piece of crime fiction and a cold-eyed meditation on modern society in which predatory human nature is accepted as the norm. And the author's fatalistic tone is rounded off with a devastatingly surprising end. The Independent Nakamura is a name to watch. Daily Mirror Japanese fiction is the new Scandicrime - and if The Thief is anything to go by, it is apparently just as dark and plentiful. A detective story told from the other side of the fence, brilliantly spun in the narrative voice of a skilled pickpocket. The Pulse Beautifully written and elegantly crafted. The Lady A psychological thriller that will grip your imagination from the very first page. Crime Ficton Lover A meditation on what it is like to be alone and on the nature of fate and free will, and featuring a lead character who would look at home in a 19th century Russian novel.' Big Issue The Thief is a swift piece of crime noir, surprisingly light on grit but weighted by existential dread. It's simple and utterly compelling - great beach reading for the deeply cynical. If you crossed Michael Connelly and Camus and translated it from Japanese. Grantland Nakamura is one of the most award-winning young guns of Japanese hard-boiled detective writing ... his award-winning novel The Thief does for Japanese fiction what John Woo did for Chinese film-making: bringing the darker side to a [western] audience. Daily Beast A mystery novel more in the tradition of Dostoevsky than Agatha Christie ... Fuminori Nakamura's noir transforms from a mood piece into a chilling philosophical thriller. Wall Street Journal
Fuminori Nakamura was born in 1977 and graduated from Fukushima University in 2000. In 2002, he won the prestigious Shincho Newcomer's Award for his first novel, A Gun, and in 2005 he won the Akutagawa prize for The Boy in the Earth. The Thief, winner of the 2009 Oe Prize, Japan's most important literary award, is his first novel to be published in English.