Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with His Son

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9781400043118: Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey with His Son

The recipient of two Booker Prizes, Peter Carey expands his extraordinary achievement with each new novel–and now gives us something entirely different.

When famously shy Charley becomes obsessed with Japanese manga and anime, Peter is not only delighted for his son but also entranced himself. Thus begins a journey, with a father sharing his twelve-year-old’s exotic comic books, that ultimately leads them to Tokyo, where a strange Japanese boy will become both their guide and judge. Quickly the visitors plunge deep into the lanes of Shitimachi–into the “weird stuff” of modern Japan–meeting manga artists and anime directors; painstaking impersonators called “visualists,” who adopt a remarkable variety of personae; and solitary otakus, whose existence is thoroughly computerized. What emerges from these encounters is a far-ranging study of history and of culture both high and low–from samurai to salaryman, from Kabuki theater to the postwar robot craze. Peter Carey’s observations are always provocative, even when his hosts point out, politely, that he is once again wrong about Japan. And his adventures with Charley are at once comic, surprising, and deeply moving, as father and son cope with and learn from each other in a strange place far from home.

This is, in the end, a remarkable portrait of a culture–whether Japan or adolescence–that looks eerily familiar but remains tantalizingly closed to outsiders.

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From the Inside Flap :

Previous winner of two Booker Prizes, Peter Carey expands his extraordinary achievement with each new novel -- but now gives us something entirely different.
When famously shy Charley Carey becomes obsessed with Japanese manga and anime, Peter is not only delighted for his son, but entranced himself. Thus, with a father sharing his twelve-year-old's exotic comic books, begins a journey that will lead them both to Tokyo, where a strange Japanese boy will become both their guide and judge. The visitors quickly plunge deep into the lanes of Shitimachi -- into the "weird stuff" of modern Japan -- meeting manga artists and anime directors, "visualists" who painstakingly impersonate cartoons, and solitary "otakus" who lead a computerized existence. What emerges from these encounters is a pithy, far-ranging study of history and culture both high and low -- from samurai to salaryman, from kabuki theatre to the post-war robot craze. Peter Carey's observations are provocative, even though his hosts often point out, politely, that he is wrong about Japan. In adventures that are comic, surprising, and ultimately moving, father and son cope with and learn from each other in a place far from home.

""No Real Japan," said Charley. "You've got to promise. No temples. No museums."
"What could we do?"
"We could buy cool manga."
"There'll be no English translations."
"I don't care. I'd eat raw fish."
--excerpt from Wrong About Japan

"From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author :

Peter Carey is the author of eight novels, including the Booker Prize—winning Oscar and Lucinda and True History of the Kelly Gang, and, most recently, My Life as a Fake. Born in Australia in 1943, he now lives in New York City.

Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang, Jack Maggs, The Unusual Life of Tristan Smith, The Tax Inspector, Oscar and Lucinda, Bliss, Illywhacker, and The Fat Man in History are available in Vintage paperback.

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