Automotive Holiday Deals Up to 50% Off Select Books Shop Men's Athletic Shoes Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Prime Music Sweepstakes egg_2015 All-New Amazon Fire TV Luxury Beauty Gifts Under $50 Amazon Gift Card Offer cm15 cm15 cm15 $30 Off Amazon Echo $30 Off Fire HD 6 Kindle Cyber Monday Deals Cyber Monday Sweepstakes in Prime Music Outdoor Deals on Tikes
The Typist: A Novel and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $14.00
  • Save: $3.79 (27%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 8 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.
The Typist: A Novel has been added to your Cart
+ $3.99 shipping
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by hippo_books
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Very Good: Cover and pages show some wear from reading and storage.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Typist: A Novel Paperback – August 9, 2011

32 customer reviews

See all 8 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$5.98 $0.01

Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book
$10.21 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 8 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • The Typist: A Novel
  • +
  • Home (Vintage International)
Total price: $20.01
Buy the selected items together

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Take an Extra 30% Off Any Book: Use promo code HOLIDAY30 at checkout to get an extra 30% off any book for a limited time. Excludes Kindle eBooks and Audible Audiobooks. Restrictions apply. Learn more | Shop now

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The curious latest from Knight (Divining Rod) follows American soldier Francis Van Vancleave as he weathers the trials of being a typist in Japan in the days after WWII. Gen. Douglas MacArthur, known here as Bunny, looms large and shows a surprising softer side when he invites Van to play with his school-age son to give the kid some perspective aside from the household help and his British tutor. Van's Saturday play dates invariably involve re-enacting battle scenes with toy soldiers of historic military figures. Meanwhile, Van's roommate is in a fiery love affair with a Japanese woman, and the strait-laced Van resists temptation even as he learns his wife back home is pregnant with another man's child. Knight paints a disquietingly dreamlike portrait of a postwar Japan that harbors no animosity toward its American conquerors and where Hiroshima becomes a sightseeing destination and the site of an American football game. Not quite darkly comic, not quite ironic, Knight's book is driven by earnest, unaffected storytelling, and the soft shocks it delivers render this a modest, entertaining story. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Post-surrender Japan must have been an odd assignment for a soldier. Van is spared from frontline duty due to his remarkable abilities as a typist and ends up in General McArthur's Tokyo headquarters. With a wife back home, Van shies from the romantic escapades so many of his fellow enlistees commit so much of their time to. Van's good-hearted roommate cannot stay away from the pan-pan girls and begins a small black-market operation to satisfy his desires and relieve his boredom. This operation is his downfall and even comes close to ruining Van. Knight cunningly details the confluence of the boredom of American soldiers and the economic plight of the post-bombing Japanese. Two cultures collide and gross exploitation occurs, but Knight is still able to craft heartfelt relationships amid the confusion. Such novels as this one—fiction, yes, but rooted in actual history—help contemporary readers make sense of the mayhem and heroism of WWII. --Blair Parsons --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hero Quick Promo
Holiday Deals in Kindle Books
Save up to 85% on more than 1,000 Kindle Books. These deals are valid until November 30, 2015. Learn more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press (August 9, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802145361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802145369
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,501,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Wavelet on October 14, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Michael Knight is a master of the short story, which is always my absolute favorite thing to read. Able to balance a kind of luxuriant economy while retaining the genre's essential mystery, Knight writes stories seemingly effortlessly: perfect pacing, compelling point of view, and gorgeous details/images. While I might always prefer his short stories, The Typist marks an expansion of his skills. In an original move, he displaces his prototypical Southern male character to postwar/post-bomb Japan. The country is invoked gorgeously. "Little America" - the few square miles spared from bombings around Tokyo's finacial district - flares and then burns steadily on the page. The reader is never bombarded by informations, historical or otherwise. Knight employs just enough details to summon up a culture and place: "Just after Kyoto it started snowing, flakes darting like schools of fish outside the windows." A lovely read.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Hebb on December 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a gem of a novel, small and finely cut, and well worth looking at. The author has largely succeeded in re-creating a time and place - a U.S. Army HQ in post-WW2 Japan - unknown to him. I found the setting and the characters both interesting and believable, having served in the Army HQ in Seoul in post-war Korea, a not too dissimilar experience at least in terms of setting from that in the novel. There is a degree of passivity in the main character, as some reviewers have noted, but I did not find this off-putting or disturbing, and think it accords with one of the main points being made by the author, namely that the character of the young man is being formed as the story develops, and the way in which the world impinges upon him is a major element in giving his character and direction in life its particular shape and trajectory.

Most gems contain slight flaws and there is one flaw, I think, in this novel that is worth mentioning, and that is race. The sensibility of the age is the most precarious element of the past, and in this novel a sense of race, as it infused American life in the '40s, is hardly present. Race, as far as it is evident at all, is portrayed as we in 21st century might conceive it. However, the main character in the novel is from the deep south, an area not known for racial tolerance in the 1940s, moreover, it should be remembered that the Army segregated in 1945-6, when this story takes place. The Army was very much a racist society at the time, and a boy from Mobile is likely to have imbibed certainly to some degree the vicious racist attitudes of his youthful environment. Even in the 1960s, when I served in the Army, racial tensions were present. Also, college football in the 1940s was also largely a white sport and a segregated one.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By RealGrrl on August 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I know I'm going to be considered 'unhelpful' for my mixed review, but here goes. The only good things I can say about this novel is that the simple prose fit the period & character's emotional void & that it showed the diversity of thought in post-war Japan. Overall though the book didn't draw me in, the main character seemed caught up in a situation that truly wasn't interesting. He reminded me of somebody on too much prozac or lithium who is just letting everything happen to him. Perhaps we could say his connection with Arthur McArthur meant something, but his relationships with all the rest of the characters were hollow. Maybe a reflection of the times? Disillusionment with American greatness? It's not a book that I'd ever reread, because nothing of substance can be drawn from it.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Literate Housewife on April 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Francis "Van" Vancleave is an enlisted man during WWII. He never saw battle because of a skill his mother taught him secretly - typing. He could type faster than any other enlisted man. As such, he was assigned to work with General McArthur in post WWII Japan.

Although he was far from his home in Alabama, he always remained a Southerner in heart. He exuded hospitality in situations that made him uncomfortable. He treated his roommate like family even when he wondered if he was using him in the pursuit of pan-pan girls. He remained true to himself even while those around him did not. If he had any faults, they were that he was naive and at times ignored his better judgement to bring joy to others. Van is probably one of the most honorable characters I've gotten to know in a very long time.

This book complimented and reminded me of two other books I enjoyed this year. While I was reading this book, I started listening to The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet. It was interesting to read these two books in conjunction as they show Japan in such a different light. While the subject matter of The Typist is different from The Blind Contessa's New Machine, but both novels gave me the same feeling in the end. Both were short novels that were interesting and comforting to read. I genuinely liked the main characters in both stories.

Final Thoughts

I would most definitely recommend The Typist. I'm so glad that I saw Rebecca from The Book Lady's Blog's display at Fountain Books and picked it up. What a nice souvenir from my business trip to Richmond. If you live around Richmond or are visiting the area, you should make the time to stop by Fountain Books. Any bookstore smart enough to partner with Rebecca is a great place to browse and pick up some great reads.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
The Typist: A Novel
This item: The Typist: A Novel
Price: $10.21
Ships from and sold by

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?