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I Am a Japanese Writer Paperback – May 1, 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...a marvellous cabinet of curiosities"—The Globe and Mail

"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

Dany Laferrière worked as a journalist in his native Haiti during the notorious Duvalier regime, immigrating to Canada in 1976. The author of twelve novels, he has won several awards, including the prestigious Prix Médicis and the Governor Generals award for a Children's novel. Dany Laferrière lives in Montreal, QC.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Douglas & McIntyre (May 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1553655834
  • ISBN-13: 978-1553655831
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
A novel that is built on a misnomer of a title, which is the point of it in the first place. Dany Laferriere is a Haitian Canadian novelist and journalist and he writes in French, so the almost confrontational way in which he brands himself as a Japanese writer raises tricky questions about identity, culture, identity and nationality et al.

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.
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Format: Paperback
Basho was a Japanese poet, and the great thing about poetry is that it can adapt to whoever is reading it. We do not need to be Japanese to understand the basic emotions. Therefore, when an American reads Bash', Bash' becomes an American poet. This is the concept behind I Am a Japanese Writer. This book is a about the origin of art, the obsolete need of a national identity, and contradictions. The story is simple; it is the journey of Dany Laferrière to write a book simply titled I Am a Japanese Writer.
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*
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And was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it. It is clever and interesting. You really begin to wonder as to whether or not you can trust the stories the narrator is throwing at you. A fun, quick read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great condition
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