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.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Popular Hits of the Showa Era: A Novel Paperback – January 31, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Violence aficionado Murakami (Audition) drops a motley cast into a late 20th-century Japan that's all decadence and social ineptitude. Though six young men have nothing in common except for having "given up on committing positively to anything in life," and are incapable of sustaining meaningful conversations, they get together often to drink, peep on an unsuspecting neighbor, and put on extravagant karaoke shows at a deserted spot on the coast. But when one of them impulsively slits a woman's throat, he places his gang in opposition to the friends of his victim, a bevy of divorcées known as the Midori Society. The women exact revenge, the men respond with another blow, and the cycle of vengeance continues with ever-increasing gore and giddy nihilism. As it turns out, murderous revenge is just the thing to bring meaning back into life, and nothing nourishes friendship like a common cause. Murakami's crackling prose makes the sickest human instincts seem fun. (Jan.) (c)
Copyright © PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Murakami’s deviously captivating novel about class and gender roles in twentieth-century Tokyo recounts the tale of six disaffected teenage boys and their attempt to satisfy an incomprehensible inner longing. Seemingly innocent, charmingly aloof, the boys spend evenings laughing uncontrollably for indeterminate reasons, belting karaoke tunes, and settling important matters with paper-rock-scissors tournaments. But their detachment turns disturbingly real when one of the boys dispassionately murders a member of the Midori Society, a group of six middle-aged women, all divorced mothers who can’t seem to find love or happiness without one another. Once the Midoris seek their revenge, one of the funniest and strangest gang wars in recent literature ensues. As the battle becomes increasingly violent and the body count rises, the surprisingly optimistic opponents seem incapable of distinguishing the difference between defending a friend’s honor and satisfying a lust for vengeance. Murakami’s characters can seem unfeeling, nihilistic, and self-indulgent, but the moral weight of this darkly comic tale is rooted in a crucial era in Japan’s history, characterized by alternating periods of peace and extreme violence. --Jonathan Fullmer
Top customer reviews
I think, the problem lies with Ryu Murakami being able to only tackle a few characters at a time. There were far too many characters for him to keep track of this time around so they all come off as hollow and underdeveloped, and the attempts at development are flat and uninteresting. At one end, this is kind of the point because the characters aren't supposed to be strong individualists but at another end it just translates as a boring read and results in an unlikable cast.
As in other Murakami novels both groups find solace and togetherness in meaningless violence and neither can fathom the senselessness of the others, nor of themselves.
As in all Murakami novels sex (or the lack thereof) is one of the protagonists' core motivators. The Midori Society have loved and lost, they are the generation of women who were (and remain) little more than window dressing to ex-husbands imprisoned by work and the paradoxical reality that success is defined by a crippling mediocrity. Sugioka's group, meanwhile, is composed of what initially appear to be outcasts-- rejects who can't communicate with anyone else, much less themselves. However, as time passes and blood is spilled, it quickly becomes apparent that these young men make up the core of Japanese society and, in fact, of their generation. They are among the millions of anonymous matchstick youth living, working, and commuting in the soulless, sexless suburbs of Tokyo; never nurtured, never realizing that they, like their mortal enemies have "stopped evolving."
At first it was hard for me to grasp the main characters' disturbing lack of empathy or humanity, but the more I dwell on it the more I think that Murakami is spot on, despite the oddities of translation here and there. These are people who have been trampled on, stolen from, destroyed and reconstituted; spit on for their ignorance and then turned around and told to contribute to the machine that created them.
This is, without a doubt, Murkami's weakest work yet, full of contrived escalation, odd throwaway characters, and a weird preoccupation with female sexuality that's not nearly as elegant as drawing dicks on the wall of a bathroom stall... However, it is an unsung ballad of truth and an examination of a lost generation-- something to read once and then digest like a bitter placebo. It explores and toys with the depths of my generation's (men and women born in the Showa Era) darkness but offers no real relief.
This is an absurd comic novel and cultural satire set just after the completion of the Showa Era, which refers to the reign of Emperor Hirohito from 1926-1989. The first set of main characters are six young men, who are each nihilistic misfits that have been largely abandoned by their families and the larger society, but find common ground in each other and a shared interest in mindless violence and an elaborate and somewhat disturbing karaoke ritual. If you can visualize a group of Beavis & Butthead clones on steroids, you've got them pegged. They have little emotional connection to anyone, and they harbor an inexplicably deep hatred of Oba-sans, or aunties, the seemingly ubiquitous dowdy women past their prime period of attractiveness. As one of them says, "They always say that when human beings are extinct, the only living thing left will be the cockroach, but that's bullshit. It's the Oba-san."
One of the young men, filled with unfocused rage and vengeance, approaches an Oba-san who is unknown to him, and murders her in broad daylight. The woman is one of the members of the Midori Society, consisting of six thirtysomething women who all share the same last name and the same fate as unmarried, undesirable, purposeless and unfulfilled women who are equally as nihilistic and amoral as the young men. They learn who the killer is and take their revenge on him, which sets off a war between the two factions that is a cross between a bizarrely funny Looney Tunes cartoon and a mindlessly and increasingly violent B movie.
Despite all of this, I actually enjoyed this novel, which I found to be a biting critique of the nihilism, crassness and commercialization of contemporary Japanese pop culture, one in which its admirers seek instant gratification and bear no concern for the consequences of their behaviors or actions.
Most recent customer reviews
However WITH the unexpected violence spinning completely out of control which is Murakami's hallmark.Read more