Turning Japanese

David Galef, Author Permanent Press (NY) $16 (240p) ISBN 978-1-57962-010-3
Though its general appeal is limited, Galef's second novel (after Flesh) is bound to strike a chord with the 20-somethings who, like protagonist Cricket Collins, have postponed (or have contemplated postponing) post-college life with a teaching job in another country. Cornell grad Cricket has put off law school for a year and signed on as an English instructor in Japan, but he quickly finds that life for a gaijin is more complicated than the one he has left behind. Cricket's minor misadventures--dealing with an officious cleaning lady, teaching enthusiastic but only slightly comprehending students, romancing Reiko, his Japanese girlfriend, during a lugubrious visit with her parents, even trying a Korean prostitute--fail to add up to much of a narrative. If the reader doesn't get much of an insight into Japanese culture, it's because we're stuck in the orbit of Cricket, a young man who interests himself more than he interests us. When Cricket cracks up while leading a class of businessmen in conversational English, the book spins (with its protagonist) out of control toward an unearned ""tragic"" ending back in the U.S., with its sad young hero still trying retrospectively to break out of his expat isolation. (Sept.) FYI: Galef, who has lived in Japan, is the author of ""Even Monkeys Fall from Trees"" and Other Japanese Proverbs.
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.