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Lady Joker: The Million Copy Bestselling ''Masterpiece of Japanese Crime Fiction''

Paperback | English

By (author): Kaoru Takamura

Translated by: Allison Markin Powell, Marie Iida


''One of the great masterpieces of Japanese crime fiction and one of the must-read books of this or any year'' David Peace

Tokyo, 1995. Five men meet at the racetrack every Sunday to bet on horses. They have little in common except a deep disaffection with their lives, but together they represent the social struggles and griefs of post-War Japan: a poorly socialized genius stuck working as a welder; a demoted detective with a chip on his shoulder; a Zainichi Korean banker sick of being ostracized for his ethnicity; a struggling single dad of a teenage girl with Down syndrome. The fifth man bringing them all together is an elderly drugstore owner grieving his grandson, who died in suspicious circumstances.

Intent on revenge against a society that values corporate behemoths more than human life, the five conspirators decide to carry out a heist: kidnap the CEO of Japan''s largest beer conglomerate and extract blood money from the company''s corrupt financiers.

Inspired by the unsolved true-crime kidnapping case perpetrated by the Monster with 21 Faces, Lady Joker has become a cultural touchstone since its 1997 publication, acknowledged as the magnum opus by one of Japan''s literary masters.

''A novel that portrays with devastating immensity how those on the dark fringes of society can be consumed by the darkness of their own hearts'' Yoko Ogawa, author of The Memory Police

''Takamura''s prismatic heist novel offers a broad indictment of capitalist society'' New York Times

''Lady Joker is a work you get immersed in, like a sprawling 19th century novel or a TV series like The Wire'' NPR

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Product Details
  • Format: Paperback
  • Weight: 41g
  • Dimensions: 129 x 198mm
  • Publication Date: 04 Aug 2022
  • Publisher: John Murray Press
  • Publication City/Country: United Kingdom
  • Language: English
  • ISBN13: 9781529394214

About Kaoru Takamura

Kaoru Takamura was born in Osaka in 1953 and is the author of thirteen novels. Her debut Grab the Money and Run won the 1990 Japan Mystery and Suspense Grand Prize and since then her work has been recognized with many of Japan''s most prestigious awards for literary fiction as well as for crime fiction: the Naoki Prize the Noma Literary Award the Yomiuri Prize the Shinran Prize the Jiro Osaragi Prize the Mystery Writers of Japan Award and the Japan Adventure Fiction Association Prize. Lady Joker her first novel to be translated into English received the Mainichi Arts Award and has been adapted into both a film and a television series.Allison Markin Powell is a literary translator editor and publishing consultant. She has been awarded grants from English PEN and the NEA and the 2020 PEN America Translation Prize for The Ten Loves of Nishino by Hiromi Kawakami. Her other translations include works by Osamu Dazai Kanako Nishi and Fuminori Nakamura. She was the guest editor for the first Japan issue of Words Without Borders and she maintains the database Japanese Literature in English.Marie Iida has served as an interpreter for the New York Times bestselling author Marie Kondo''s Emmy-nominated Netflix documentary series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Her nonfiction translations have appeared in Nang MoMA Post Eureka and over half a dozen monographs on contemporary Japanese artists and architects including Yayoi Kusama Toyo Ito and Kenya Hara for Rizzoli New York. Marie currently writes a monthly column for Gentosha Plus about communicating in English as a native Japanese speaker

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