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I Am a Japanese Writer Paperback – May 1, 2011
Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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"in his unique fashion, Laferrière captures the spirit of our culture, where cultural boundaries are erased and the real and the unreal intimately coexist."—The National Post
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Written in the first person, the journal-like novel (or novel-like journal) starts with Laferriere suggesting his audacious title to his publisher when pushed to deliver his manuscript for his next book. The suggestion of the title acquires a life of its own and attracts rabid attention when word gets round that a black author from Montreal who does not speak a word of Japanese is writing the novel. Laferriere's meditation on issues relating to the appropriation of culture, whether one has the right to articulate a nationalistic identity based on one's imagination and/or experience, and if this representation needs to be 'real' in the first place, is never heavy-handed, but surprisingly lighthearted and raucously funny, and all the more impactful for his refusal to be trapped by binary arguments and perspectives.
The line between fact and fiction blurs even as the narrator/Laferriere documents short vignettes from his life which are like little unconnected stories in themselves, in an apparent attempt to delay the writing of the novel, when in actual fact what we are reading is the novel itself. A brilliant piece of metafiction that is both thought-provoking and entertaining.
The book is a brilliant piece of art. Laferrière paints himself in a prosperous light as a quiet bookworm. His writing style shines, as it feels like it was written by a madman scripting his will in a paper cave. One chapter has two character's talking without punctuation. This technique works because it forces you to pay attention to the character's personalities to understand the conversation. The characters themselves feel fresh and alive. This book is an amazing expedition that intersects time, space, and identities. Much like sushi, this book is an acquired taste, but I recommend trying it at least once.
*Originally published for San Francisco/Sacramento Book Review*