Five Thousand Runaways

Takeshi Kaiko, Author Dodd Mead $0 (191p) ISBN 978-0-396-09108-0
The constantly moving camera eye in this collection of eight stories covering a 20-year period in the career of the prolific Japanese writer records the most vivid images and events in the loosely woven narratives. The sheer profusion of detail can also prove the narratives' undoing. A deadly moment such as the lethal combat between mongoose and snake can be gruesomely effective; so can the frying of rat-meat for a delightful repast. But excessive minutiaevisual and auditorydescribing the seamy life of Saigon and Cholon during the Vietnam War mars the potentially fascinating ""Festivities by the River.'' The title story refers to a sociological category of men who unaccountably disappear and assume a new life elsewhere. The central character, a dull, methodical caricature of a conventional corporate finance official in Tokyo, suddenly ``frees himself from all anchors'' of wife and child, work and routine, and returns to his native Osaka to drift, isolate himself and finally resume a more sordid version of his old work by keeping the books of a squalid dance hall. Kaiko (Into a Black Sun) is an observant, speculative writer whose impressive skills seem somewhat cramped in the short story genre. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1987
Release date: 01/01/1987
Paperback - 200 pages - 978-0-7206-0770-3
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