In Search of a Distant Voice, Paperback

In Search of a Distant Voice Paperback

3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Kazama Tsuneo is an immigration officer in Tokyo, struggling to live a 'normal' life after an event that happened eight years previously, on the other side of the world, in Portland, Oregon.

When he is seized one day by a strange emotional fit, his life threatens to spiral out of control.

With his arranged marriage looming, his problems worsen following the emergence of a strange voice - a woman who is trying to contact him, but without ever quite revealing herself.

Imbued with a beautiful, melancholy sense of longing, the story becomes a quest narrative in which Tsuneo desperately chases this woman, and the mystery behind what happened eight years earlier.

Exploring ideas of sexuality, guilt and identity, Taichi Yamada once again displays his unique storytelling qualities, and uncanny gift for merging the everyday and the surreal.




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A strange story about an immigration officer who becomes obsessed by a woman who can speak to him telepathically. The main character's voice is casual, in the same way that I've read in Banana Yoshimoto's books, which contrasts with the strangeness of the situation. The book is actually about people in strangeness, with side stories about Tsuneo's work in which he finds ordinary people living in deplorable situations as illegal immigrants, about Tsuneo's causing of the death of his friend and short-term lover in Portland, and his antics as he is trying to follow Japanese convention in getting married. Tsuneo sees the normal as strange, and tries to make his own life fit in the way others seem to fit. He works to make people--including himself--conform. His connection with a disembodied woman's voice is a simple but effective metaphor for this impossible task.