From the Fatherland with Love Hardback
by Ryu Murakami
An ambitious, epic dystopian novel - part political thriller and part satire. From the Fatherland, with Love is set in an alternative, dystopian present in which the dollar has collapsed and Japan's economy has fallen along with it.
The North Korean government, sensing an opportunity, sends a fleet of rebels in the first land invasion that Japan has ever faced.
Japan can't cope with the surprise onslaught of Operation From the Fatherland, with Love .
But the terrorist Ishihara and his band of renegade youths - once dedicated to upsetting the Japanese government - turn their deadly attention to the North Korean threat.
They will not allow Fukuoka to fall without a fight.
Epic in scale, From the Fatherland, with Love is laced throughout with Murakami's characteristically savage violence.
It's both a satisfying thriller and a completely mad, over-the-top novel like few others.
Translated by Ralph McCarthy, Charles De Wolf and Ginny Tapley Takemori, and published by Pushkin Press 'A troubled meditation on the soul of modern Japan...Alarmingly pertinent in light of current British politics...A morbidly funny comedy...Above all, it is a phenomenal feat of storytelling 700 pages, dozens of characters and scores of ideas woven into one gripping whole. ' Andrzej Lukowski, Metro 'This is a novel by the other Murakami.
Not Haruki...If Haruki is The Beatles of Japanese literature, Ryu is its Rolling Stones...[From the Fatherland, with Love] has a Tolstoyan cast of characters, from crack North Korean commandos and hapless Japanese bureaucrats to a gang of hoodlums who eventually decide to save Japan.
It unfolds with the pace of a thriller...' David Pilling, Financial TImes 'Massively ambitious and uncompromising...prescient in unexpected ways' Joanne Hayden, Sunday Business Post "[Mixes] the thrills of a spy novel with some national soul-searching' Lionel Barber, Financial Times, Summer Books 'Definitely edgier and darker than Haruki [Ryu Murakami] has a worldwide following and is regarded by many as one of the most thrilling writers of contemporary Japanese fiction...[He] offers a thrilling insight - with a geopolitical panoramic view - into national character, human relationships, chaos and disorder' - Tatevik Sargsyan, Hunger Magazine Born in 1952 in Nagasaki prefecture, Ryu Murakami is the enfant terrible of contemporary Japanese literature. Awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 1976 for his first book, a novel about a group of young people drowned in sex and drugs, he has gone on to explore with cinematic intensity the themes of violence and technology in contemporary Japanese society.
His novels include Coin Locker Babies, Sixty-Nine, Popular Hits of the Showa Era, Audition and In the Miso Soup.
Murakami is also a screenwriter and a director; his films include Tokyo Decadence, Audition and Because of You.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 672 pages
- Publisher: Pushkin Press
- Publication Date: 02/05/2013
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9781908968456
Showing 1 - 1 of 1 reviews.
Review by parrishlantern
This book originally came out in Japan in 2005, placing the story in what would have been the near future, in a time of severe economic crisis, with the yen worth next to nothing, banks closed & both food & fuel in short supply. All this combines to leave Japan in a vulnerable state with it’s close neighbours vying for dominance & it’s one time allies unable or unwilling to help. Into this bleak picture steps an old enemy with a plan to invade, that is both as cunning in its set up as it is shocking in the simplicity in which it unfolds. North_Korea_Training_ExerciseJapan has become a nation whose time has passed, a place where camps for the unemployed and homeless are commonplace & living rough on the streets is the only reality for a growing number of the populace.Into this scenario a force of highly trained & ruthless North Korean commandos easily infiltrate and take over control of the city of Fukuoka, setting up their own government with little resistance from the local population and often with help from self interested parties.With the national government having no plans, no solutions and no idea who to blame, although that’s not stopping them from trying to apportion it. With the government both local and central too scared to lift their heads out of their collective anuses, it is left to Murakami’s Marauders, a disparate bunch of disaffected youth, social outcasts murderers, bombers & satanists to face the foe. This group under the leadership of Ishihara, an accomplished poet and winner of Kyushu Prefecture Cultural Award for Literary Excellence, decide that they will take on the North Koreans, they formulate a suitably diabolical plan, grab what weaponry they have stockpiled, within a short period of time slaughter and mayhem commences.This as a book should come with a warning Not Recommended by the Japanese Tourist Board. No one comes out well, or to be more accurate the characters that one would feel most for, are the same ones that should be locked away from sight as not suitable, not fitting The Traditional Japanese Image (TM), in fact any image a nation would want to project concerning itself.Earlier this year I read the other Murakami’s (Haruki) books 1q84 and thought that it was an ambitious attempt to collate all of his ideas, themes & obsessions ( love, loneliness, surreal worlds, free will & religious cults) throughout his fiction and nonfiction into one grand expression, into one book. I also thought that although it was an epic effort – it was also a failure, that it didn’t gel as a whole. I think that this idea also applies to Ryu Murakami, except From The Fatherland With Love succeeds, this book covers the usual areas of violence & technology, the divide between those that are excepted by and those society considers unwanted. It also shoves a great wedge between Japan’s old martial/ traditional image and the reality of it’s modern self, a nation that has not just lost it’s way, but had no idea it had one. It also manages to chuck in another Ryu Murakami bugbear with references to Japan’s reliance for protection on the USA.The difference between From The Fatherland With Love, and 1q84 I believe is that Ryu Murakami’s book works as a whole where 1q84 didn’t. Ryu Murakami has created in this book a wonderful cast of characters in a tale that rollicks along with all the mayhem, violence & action one expects from a Ryu Murakami book & yet he still manages to gel his vision, still manages to get his world view down on the page & into the reader.The Guardian newspaper said that Ryu Murakami was “The godfather to the dark heart of modern Japanese Fiction” and whether he knows this or not I can imagine him liking the idea.