07 September, 2015

Book Review: Coin Locker Babies

From GoodreadsA surreal coming-of-age tale that establishes Ryu Murakami as one of the most inventive young writers in the world today. 
Abandoned at birth in adjacent train station lockers, two troubled boys spend their youth in an orphanage and with foster parents on a semi-deserted island before finally setting off for the city to find and destroy the women who first rejected them. Both are drawn to an area of freaks and hustlers called Toxitown. One becomes a bisexual rock singer, star of this exotic demimonde, while the other, a pole vaulter, seeks his revenge in the company of his girlfriend, Anemone, a model who has converted her condominium into a tropical swamp for her pet crocodile. 
Together and apart, their journey from a hot metal box to a stunning, savage climax is a brutal funhouse ride through the eerie landscape of late-twentieth-century Japan.

Thoughts: This was our July book group read and I found it hard going. So hard I actually put it down because I was not going to the meeting so didn't feel a pressing need to finish it. Then the meeting got postponed,  as did the next one and we finally decided we would have a long lunch meeting and discuss all three books. So I picked it up again and while I won't say I found it easy reading, I did hit my stride with it.
Coin Locker Babies is just one of those books you have to go with the flow with. There's not much point trying to delve to deep, just be carried by the current and grab the snatches you can in the hope it will come together finally. And it did, sort of. I'm sure I missed stuff, but I got the general feeling of the book. Basically being dumped in a coin locker and then bought up in and orphanage and foster family really, really messes with you head. It's incredibly obvious that Kiku and Hashi are damaged. Their ways of dealing with that damage are vastly different, but their loyalty to each other as brothers, while twisted, is as strong as any siblings. A very strange read.

Coin Locker Babies gets 2 stars

*        Did not like it
**       It was OK
***      Liked it
****    Really liked it
*****   It was amazing