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100 Years of Vicissitude [Kindle Edition]

Andrez Bergen
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

"First up, a disclaimer. I suspect I am a dead man. I have meagre proof, no framed- up certification, nothing to toss in a court of law as evidence of a rapid departure from the mortal coil. I recall a gun was involved, pressed up against my skull, and a loud explosion followed."

Thus begins our narrator in a purgatorial tour through twentieth-century Japanese history, with a ghostly geisha who has seen it all as a guide and a corrupt millionaire as her reluctant companion.

Thrown into the milieu are saké, B-29s, Lewis Carroll, Sir Thomas Malory, Melbourne, 'The Wizard of Oz', and a dirigible - along with the allusion that Red Riding Hood might just be involved.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"Dreamlike and bewitchingly evocative." (A FLAWED MIND) "A unique, memorable story - indescribable, exhilarating." (FORCES OF GEEK) "A terrific book!" (BARE BONES) "Quirky, poignant, and utterly brilliant." (DRYING INK) "Hard-boiled and entertaining." (ZOUCH MAGAZINE) "A wildly enchanting journey down the rabbit hole." (ELIZABETH A. WHITEWorldwide)"

About the Author

Melbourne-born Andrez Bergen is an expatriate Australian author, journalist, DJ, photographer and musician, based in Tokyo, Japan, over the past eleven years. Aside from specializing in Japanese culture, anime, movies, and electronic music’s various tangents, Bergen has written fiction for Another Sky Press, Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey and Snubnose Press, worked with anime director Mamoru Oshii, and did a book of prose in collaboration with Polish photographer Tomek Sikora. He published his debut novel, 'Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat', in 2011. Bergen makes music and videos under aliases Little Nobody, Slam-Dunk Ninja, and Funk Gadget, and he ran indie/experimental record label IF? for fourteen years. One Hundred Years of Vicissitude is his second novel.

Product Details

  • File Size: 725 KB
  • Print Length: 268 pages
  • Publisher: John Hunt Publishing (October 29, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A2SQUTU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,088 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
(30)
3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read of the year. October 12, 2012
Format:Paperback
This story of the afterlife is like nothing else that has come before it. Bergen has set the standard for an intriguing, beautiful and terrible place that leaves most of the big questions up to the reader while still being a compelling and satisfying read. The settings are cinematic and amazing--the most visual novel I have read in some time. In patiently building up the relationship between his two main characters he effortlessly drops in gems of Japanese history and culture, popular culture, and heavy doses of both high and low brow humor. By the end of the book the reader will have fallen in love with both characters, Japan, and Andrez Bergen himself.

This book is by far my favorite read of the year, I cannot recommend it enough. There is truly something for everyone, while remaining compelling, literary and important.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, thought provoking and superbly written. November 6, 2012
Format:Paperback
When I first read Andrez Bergen's debut novel earlier this year I was quite excited as I found it to be a great read and I was even more stoked when I discovered that a second novel, One Hundred Years of Vicissitude would be coming out in October and I have been eagerly awaiting it's release since.
I certainly have not been disappointed, One Hundred Years is one of the more profound and moving books I have read in a very long time and combined with Mr Bergen's unique writing style this novel is really something special.
This novel could be viewed as a historical narrative, a love story or a journey through time and different cultures and is a stand alone novel despite the presence of characters from previous works (although reading his debut novel, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat may help add some clarity or perspective to the storyline).
The two main characters that feature in this novel are well developed and the author uses his unique sense of humour and wit to draw the readers in but it is not in-your-face styled humour, rather a subtle insertion that perfectly adds to the power of the tale being told.
The same can be said of Andrez Bergen's influences, he introduces us to numerous movies, books, comics, music and actual historic events and rather than this be overbearing it adds another layer to a novel that is so much better for being multi-layered and faceted.
I haven't written many reviews of books I have read before and found it somewhat difficult to write this one, I actually noticed that some of the other people who also have reviewed this novel found themselves in a similar position.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Original and engaging October 10, 2012
Format:Paperback
This book is unique. I think that's where I need to start, it's like nothing I have ever read before. I originally agreed to review this book per author request and I felt a little apprehensive about what would come because my knowledge of Japanese history is limited. However I found the book thrilling, exciting, tear jerking at moments and really bizarre! Bergen has a very unique style of writing and he adds a touch of humour into his work that I thoroughly appreciated. It was a rather dry, sarcastic tone which worked well with the tone of the book.

There is little to discern from the actual plot, but the story follows the footsteps of a man who meets a very strange Japanese woman, who crept into my heart along with him and I found myself flipping through the pages to find out where their journey would end. Ultimately this story has a sense of surrealism because it ventures into the realm beyond death and trips into `memories' that is rather confounding at time and you may at times struggle to keep up. However we seem to develop into a full cycle and end on a rather poignant note and I'm glad to say it wasn't the ending of pointlessness I almost expected from this type of book, but thoroughly rounded.

Bergen seems to enjoy discombobulating us by thrusting us into a new situation at every turn. The fact that he does this adds to the thrill of the story and is certainly enough to pique my interest.

The style of writing is unique, but it certainly adept and stretches my knowledge of vocabulary to its limits. To be truthful, I'd never heard of the word "vicissitude" before reading and the first thing I did was look through a dictionary before reading the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Read It Twice! January 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the most unusually written books I have encountered. The first few pages left me with the feeling that I had been dropped into a maze. That quickly settled into an overriding curiosity to know more - it kept me at the book. By the end I was totally enthralled with the book. So much so, that I immediately went back and re-read it. This is the first time I have ever done such a thing. It was even better the second time through!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I Read This Book January 26, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Didn't know what to think when I noticed this book. The preview looked interesting and I like historical fiction. This reminded me of Dickens A Christmas Carol. Very witty banter between th
two main characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight October 12, 2012
Format:Paperback
just finished reading Andrez Bergen's new novel, '100 Years of Vicissitude', and I had to share the experience. I don't review books very often here, but I couldn't resist in this case. Some of you may recall my review of his first novel, the remarkable and amusing genre-buster 'Tobacco Stained Mountain Goat', published in 2010. Read that review here.
I confess that I had a sense, before even opening '100 Years...', that I knew what to expect from this author. How wrong I was. While TSMG riffed on noir and classic sci-fi referents and popular culture, skating deliriously from gritty action to cinematic set pieces of dialogue, 100 Years is in a different class altogether. TSMG was fun, charged with high voltage, high calorie pop iconography forced through a genre framework. 100 Years is a far more nuanced piece, and in my opinion, it hits you harder as a consequence.

A lesser author might have continued to mine the vein opened in TSMG: like I said, it was a fun ride. Bergen is obviously made of different stuff, and he has taken the bold decision to draw one thread from the earlier novel and weave from it a rich tapestry of a very different kind. If this was a risk, then it has paid off.

100 Years of Vicissitude is dreamlike, and bewitchingly evocative. The action starts in a strange landscape that made me think of Kurosawa's wild places from the film 'Ran', dream landscapes where there is furious movement and no progress. Our protagonist finds himself wandering beyond death, resenting the absence of a guiding Virgil to lead the way. Of course, he is not alone for too long, and the subsequent tale is a weaving together of the lives of an unlikely couple - the irredeemable oligarch and the centenarian former Geisha - thrust together beyond the finitude of death.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A read like nothing you've read before!
Our chief protagonist Wolram E Deaps, first seen in the scifi noir TOBACCO STAINED MOUNTAIN GOAT, has past away and now resides in the hereafter; a strange halfway home between... Read more
Published 1 month ago by OzNoir
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, peculiar meditation on the nature of the sacred.
Truly a one-of-a-kind novel like Andez Bergen himself only know how to write them. It's such a peculiar experience, I had to stop about 10% into it and go read reviews to double... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jean-Benoit Lelievre
4.0 out of 5 stars Not TSMG but good nonetheless
First, I would suggest that you read Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat before even reading the next paragraph in this review. It's a wonderful book. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Scychry
1.0 out of 5 stars blah!
A confusion of adjectives , irrelevant references and name dropping. Very disappointing after TSMG. Had very few moments of lucid ,clear literary work.
Published 10 months ago by bigfella
2.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious But Not Quite There
The book has a bit of an awkward start, most especially if you haven't read the first book (I again assume this based on other reviews). Read more
Published 13 months ago by Rocky Sunico
2.0 out of 5 stars Clever but wore out welcome
I was attracted to the witty vernacular voice & confidential cameraderie tone of the writer.but after a while..the characters sounded
all alike- just like the narrator.. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Moijay
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and tragic
Exquisite writing, this Ghost-of-Christmas-Past tour of the events of 20th-century Japan through the eyes of a geisha dragging along a crusty old tyrant in a purgatorial afterlife. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Gordon T. Highland
4.0 out of 5 stars Adsorbing
Very interesting story building, many history lessons as well as interesting characters. A walk in the author's shoes is not a stroll.
Published 17 months ago by Betty Bee Searles
3.0 out of 5 stars Hard to follow
Was a little hard to follow not sure I would read it again. Some part of it were very Interesting.
Published 17 months ago by Stephanie Milward
1.0 out of 5 stars I was lost
I did not finish this book. It was confusing. I could not associate with any of the characters. My mind would wander because I was confused.
Published 18 months ago by Linda Lee Lyman
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More About the Author

Andrez Bergen is an expat Australian writer, journalist, DJ, photographer and ad hoc beer and saké connoisseur who's been entrenched in Tokyo, Japan, for the past 12 years.

He published noir/sci-fi novel 'Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat' in 2011, the surreal fantasy 'One Hundred Years of Vicissitude' through Perfect Edge Books in 2012, and illustrated comic book noir 'Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?' in 2013, again via Perfect Edge.

In 2013 Bergen also released 'The Condimental Op' (a collection of short stories, comics, and articles on music, movies and Japan) as well as co-editing 'The Tobacco-Stained Sky' anthology.

Bergen's next novel 'Depth Charging Ice Planet Goth' will be published in 2014.

Bergen has published short stories through Crime Factory, Shotgun Honey, Snubnose Press, All Due Respect, Big Pulp, 'Pulp Ink 2', Another Sky Press and Solarcide, and worked on translating and adapting the scripts for feature films by Mamoru Oshii, Kazuchika Kise and Naoyoshi Shiotani.

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