5" x 8"
I Am a Japanese Writer
A Globe 100 Book of the Year for 2010.
A devilishly intelligent new novel by the internationally bestselling author and Prix Médicis winner.
A black writer from Montreal has found the perfect title for his next book: I Am a Japanese Writer. His publisher gives him an advance on the strength of the title alone. The problem is, he can’t seem to write a word of it. He can scarcely summon the energy to put pen to paper, and so he nurses his writer’s block by taking long baths, re-reading the works of Japanese poet Basho and engaging in amorous intrigues with rising pop star Midori and her entourage of vampire girls.
For the writer, though, the title isn’t just a title: he really does believe he is a Japanese writer. He makes this declaration in a mall, and, the next thing he knows, he’s an international celebrity. The book becomes a cult phenomenon, even though he still hasn’t written a word of it. In Japan, it sets off a cultural revolution. A Japanese writer even publishes a book called I Am a Malagasy Writer. On the nightly news, a Japanese officer declares, “I Am a Korean Soldier.” No wonder a pair of attachés from the Japanese embassy has been following our hero around.
At first, he is delighted to discover his celebrity. But things quickly go wrong. Part postmodern fantasy, part Kafkaesque nightmare and part travelogue to the inner reaches of the self, I Am a Japanese Writer calls into question everything we think we know about what—and who—makes a work of art.
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