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End of the World Blues [Kindle Edition]

Jon Courtenay Grimwood
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $12.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $2.01 (17%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

From Jon Courtenay Grimwood, author of the celebrated Arabesk series, comes a stunningly inventive novel of futuristic noir set in a world of shifting realities. Here a man is drawn into a gritty postmodern subculture and a secret kingdom of otherworldly beings to find what he lost long ago: a reason to live.

Kit Nouveau figured he’d already come to the end of the world. An Iraqi war veteran, expatriate, and part owner of Pirate Mary’s, the best Irish bar in Tokyo, Kit had settled down to await the inevitable with barely a whimper. It wasn’t exactly how Kit thought he’d end up, and he was right.

It’s going to end up a lot worse.

A teenage runaway with fifteen million dollars in stolen cash and a taste for cosplay is about to save Kit’s life in a lethal swirl of scarlet and bridal lace. Lady Neku, a.k.a. Countess of High Strange, has her own dangerous destiny to fulfill and it’s mysteriously connected to Kit’s ravaged past. Now Kit’s only hope for redemption is to save an ex-girlfriend he tragically failed once before. But everyone says it’s already too late. And she’s left behind only one ominous clue: her suicide note.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Straightforward explanations and linear plotting are in short supply in this stand-alone novel; rather, Grimwood's latest tale reads as if Kurt Vonnegut were writing manga for the producers of Doctor Who. The story starts in near-future Tokyo, where expatriate soldier Kit Nouveau runs an Irish bar. A runaway teenage girl, Lady Neku, hides $15 million in a train station locker and then tidily kills a mugger to save Kit's life, and soon both are deeply enmeshed in multi-layered clan wars. Kit's involves a reputed yakuza syndicate, various British police and spy agencies and several of his past and present lovers. Neku's concerns the alternate reality where she's a semi-immortal princess and the incipient bride to the heir of a rival family. The connections between the two are often vague, but Grimwood (Stamping Butterflies) stabilizes the story with uniformly compelling characterizations and vivid settings. Genre fans may find the book difficult to label, but readers with flexible expectations will find it easy to enjoy. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Fast yet humane, hip yet bizarre, futuristic yet embedded in the absolute present moment of the world, Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s novels read like thrillers but maintain a kind of caring irony and clarity of political vision which not only make him one of the best of the new U.K. SF writers but suggest new directions for every kind of writing.”—M. John Harrison, author of Light

“Defiantly individual, and works in that interesting margin where myth, futurism, literature and pop culture all interbreed.” —Times, UK

“Grimwood's latest tale reads as if Kurt Vonnegut were writing manga for the producers of Doctor Who.”—Publishers Weekly

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 386 KB
  • Print Length: 356 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0575079533
  • Publisher: Bantam (September 25, 2007)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000W7KNGW
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,477 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Jon Courtenay Grimwood's "End of the World Blues" is a stylish, often convoluted, post-cyberpunk thriller which will easily remind readers of William Gibson's early "Cyberspace" trilogy. However, Grimwood's depiction of a near future Japan owes more to Haruki Murakami's vision of Japan than Gibson's in its realism (which isn't surprising since Grimwood has, unlike Gibson, resided there). Young British expatriate Kit Noveau must contend with the unexpected demise of his wife and of the bar that she had owned. His only chance at redemption lies in an ex-girlfriend who left a suicide note before vanishing. His only friend is a rather bizarre young Japanese girl, Neku, who believes that she is an aristocrat from Earth's distant future. Together they travel through the urban jungles of Japan and Great Britain in search of the missing keys that will explain who was ultimately responsible for the death of Kit's Japanese wife. Without question, Grimwood is one of Great Britain's best young writers of literary science fiction and fantasy; "End of the World Blues" merely reinforces the ample critical and popular acclaim he's earned on both sides of the Atlantic.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strange High August 30, 2008
Jon Courtenay Grimwood is an incredibly intelligent and inventive writer, and readers looking for intricately plotted cerebral fiction will love the dark and mysterious depths of his novels. The other reviewers here have used the word "convoluted" to describe this story and they're right, because Grimwood's bizarrely twisted plotlines tend to overwhelm his fascinating characters and vibrant settings. Note that the novel is not really science fiction, but a slightly cyberpunk-ish crime mystery (and a very complex one) with some sci-fi elements added on. The main character Kit Nouveau gets caught up in a very tangled web of intrigue involving organized crime lords and evil conspiracies in both England and Japan, trailed by the mysterious Lady Neku, a forlorn Japanese street urchin who also inhabits a future alternate reality, or just thinks she does.

Lady Neku's story is intriguing but very vague and ambiguous, which is clearly an intentional strategy by Grimwood to fire the reader's imagination, but some readers may find her far-future sci-fi homeworld too undeveloped for comfort. Meanwhile, Kit Nouveau's adventures in crime and redemption remain exciting, but Grimwood keeps piling on intricate twists and conspiratorial subplots to the point of distraction, with the story nearly collapsing under its own weight. Granted, the sheer power and uniqueness of Grimwood's imagination, and his skills in plot construction, will keep adventurous readers fascinated. But those with more structured imaginations might have to read this book three or four times to really figure out all the twists and turns, which might just be too showoff-ish for their own good. [~doomsdayer520~]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining Punk, but hollow July 17, 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I know this is kind of a short review, but I kind of want to put my thoughts on Grimwood's book in a nutshell. The book follows Kit Nouveau, a wreck of a war veteran who's relatively empty life as a bar owner and husband of an artist in Tokyo is turned upside down by the burning of his bar, death of his wife inside, and rescue by waif/Lady Neku. Additionally, he's also met by the mother of his ex-girlfriend from fifteen years before, the betrayal of whom was the first significant toll he paid for losing his soul in Iraq. The gangster/mother wants him to help track down this woman, who has disappeared, though believed to have killed herself by the police (she did organize her life and leave behind a suicide note, after all). Lacking anything better to do, Kit goes to London to help, is followed by Neku, and further strangeness ensues.

Basically, I enjoyed thebook, and it was an entertaining and gripping read. That being said, it's kind of like a slightly less satisfying Gibson. The whole snail castle at the end of the world feels like a tangent that should have been either more fully developed, or left out altogether. It's perhaps kind of harsh, and I may well have missed the point a bit, but although that part of Neko's world was intriguing, it doesn't really feel fully worked into the story. In the end, I get it, but I'm not sure it added much. The other main problem is how convoluted the whole plot is. If it all came together and was somehow interrelated, I don't think I'd have a bone to pick, but the fact that so many independent different and strange things happen to Kit strains my credulity.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars complex somewhat convoluted character driven thriller October 4, 2007
In Tokyo, runaway teenager Lady "Countess of High Strange" Neku hides fifteen million dollars in a in a train station locker. Soon afterward she saves the life of former Iraq war veteran Kit Nouveau when she efficiently kills a mugger attacking him. The Pirate's Mary bar owner tells Neku he owes her.

Many groups are after Neku because of the money she hid; this includes the yakuza syndicate and, British espionage agents; Several of Kit's former lovers and a few he still sees are after him. Neku also "lives" in an alternate reality as a princess married to an adversarial family. She fears her virtual life has interacted with her real life while Kit feeling an obsession to save a former girlfriend who left a suicide note behind wonders what he has gotten into since Neku saved him from a mugging.

The END OF THE WORLD BLUES is a complex somewhat convoluted character driven thriller that hooks readers who prefer something different yet compelling. Kit with his world ended yesterday philosophy and Neku with her strange kick butt attitude make for a dynamic read as her adventures tie into his past, present, and apparently his future making the double helix look like preschool science. Jon Courtenay Grimwood is at his most complicated best with this strong tale.

Harriet Klausner
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