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Paprika (Vintage Contemporaries Original) Paperback


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Paprika (Vintage Contemporaries Original) + The Girl Who Leapt Through Time + Norwegian Wood
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Product Details

  • Series: Vintage Contemporaries Original
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (February 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307389183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307389183
  • ASIN: 0307389189
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

At Tokyo’s Institute for Psychiatric Research, beautiful, 29-year-old psychiatrist Atsuko Chiba is effecting rapid cures of schizophrenia. Using devices developed by colleague Kosaku Tokita, a grotesquely obese and child-like genius, Atsuko enters patients’ dreams and participates in them, and she and Tokita have been short-listed for the Nobel Prize. But for reasons of professional jealousy, hubris, and twisted sexual desire, a doctor and a top administrator at the institute steal the devices and begin to “infect” staff members with schizophrenia. Only Atsuko can oppose them, and she must do that in both the real world and the nightmarish dreams of the victims. Tsutsui is one of Japan’s leading science-fiction authors, and Paprika, published in Japan in 1993, was also made into an animated film. Some U.S. readers may have difficulty accepting some of the book’s premises; for instance, that schizophrenia could be sent into “remission” in a day or two. Others might question the nature of relationships between men and women that Paprika posits. But those who suspend disbelief will be entertained and likely made deeply curious about Japanese culture and society. --Thomas Gaughan

Review

“Yasutaka Tsutsui is the doyen of avant-garde Japanese writers. His work is by turns innovative, thought-provoking and – not least – extremely entertaining.”
The Independent (UK)

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Customer Reviews

In the novel version I have to admit that I felt bogged down at times by too much unimportant information.
Christopher Barrett
This is set against a backdrop of science and technology running amok without the proper safeguards of moral principles, ethics, and a keen sense of good and evil.
Avril Sol
This book is kind of a combo of mystery and science fiction, and starts out pretty normal but gets really weird partway through.
Tomorryo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By JPV on September 14, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's so surprising to me that this book isn't as popular as it should be in America. It has every element that I think a lot of people want in a novel. It's incredibly smart in both dialog and story line, and it's interesting in a scientific way, as well as in an artful, darkly surreal way. His thought processes as he writes are acute and effective yet beautifully detached and creative. He goes through people's inner dialogs in an incredibly psychiatric way--like he wants to subtly point out everybody's neurosis, thereby creating a theme. It certainly set up a certain aura. However, it turns out the translation is pretty weak, but I forget about that as I read it because the story is so unique and engaging.
I can only hope that the anime can attract people's attention to the book. While the anime is beautiful and perfect for Satoshi Kon's visual style, the book is a totally individual experience
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By CG VINE VOICE on March 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I was not sure what to expect from this book, but was pleasantly surprised by its interesting sci-fi take on neuropsychology. The book's characterization of elite scientists is right on the money, complete with quirks and odd behaviors to secure power and funding.

Admittedly, about midway through the book the plot goes beyond any plausibility squarely into fantasy/sci-fi with the imagery it generates bordering on hentai. Not having a strong frame of reference for many of the Japanese cultural allusions made it tough to know whether certain scenes and characters were supposed to be familiar or unique to Paprika's world. If you are not interested in reading about the use of sex as a power tool, or sex outside the context of love, then this is not the book for you. I saw it as a very refreshing approach, though not my usual fare.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Note: Paprika is a re-release of a 2009 pressing. It is now being published under Random House's Vintage Contemporaries Original press. Both releases are translated by Andrew Driver.

Paprika by Yasutaka Tsutsui is a curious, mildly compelling, and needlessly complicated mystery done up in a fantastical style. The characters are text-entombed anime caricatures with cerebral superpowers that allow them to observe and control dreams through collectors and receptor gorgons under the guise of psychotherapy.

Paprika is a Nobel Prize wanna-win, employed as a psychotherapist at The Institute for Psychiatric Research. Her chief superpower is stunning beauty, with its accompanying - and inexplicable - promiscuity. She is supposed to be legendary and highly effective, despite her own very loose scruples. Everyone wants her, and at one point, Paprika turns her nose up at a man who she has "decided" can rape her. When he fails to be able to do so, she decries his actions as behavior "unbecoming of a psychotherapist". She blames his failure to perform on being overawed by her beauty. (Uh huh ...) At another point, Paprika has virtual sex with a client, and only much later wonders whether this was unethical.

Throw in some Jungian Collective Unconscious gone seriously awry, a scene straight out of a Japanese horror flik involving a TV screen, made-up words like "dreason" (dream + reason), an unusual spin on Christianity, a dash of Buddhism, time travel, a hint of Bob Newhart ... and perhaps some bafflement is to be expected. Even Japanese dolls abound with black circle eyes that could made Bart Simpson go epileptic.

Suffice to say, certain parts of Paprika make no sense at all, even within its anime execution and premise of dream entry and manipulation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By fredtownward VINE VOICE on May 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a wild and disturbing SF novel based on the premise that in the near future technology has been developed to allow psychiatrists to observe, even invade and manipulate the dreams of their patients in order to treat them. Patients have been cured using this method; however, there are risks: doctors can become trapped inside their patients' subconscious, even be driven insane.

This isn't even the half of it!

There are people who oppose this sort of technology and will do anything to stop it. So when Dr. Kosaku Tokita, the (almost?) mad genius behind it creates a stunningly advanced next generation device, all his prototypes are stolen and his assistant disappears. Meanwhile the colleague who used his first generation devices to cure people even back when it was illegal to do so, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, is called upon to revive her former secret identity as Paprika, the Dream Detective, in order to treat some high level patients who need to conceal the fact that they have any mental issues. In the process she picks up images leaking from the new devices and figures out who took them, but reveals herself in the process. Soon there is an all out war being fought in the dreams of the various combatants as their dream powers keep growing in strength until things from their dreams begin to manifest themselves in the real world.

Then all Hell breaks loose.

I was initially worried I'd have difficulty following the plot as even the characters find themselves unable to distinguish between dreams and reality, especially when dream constructs start leaking into the real world, but it turned out not to be that difficult. Maybe that's why unlike some reviewers I DIDN'T find the writing tedious or repetitive.
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