The Thief

thiefThe Thief
by Fuminori Nakamura
2012 / 211 pages
(read by Charlie Thurston –  4h 1m)
Rating – 8.5

I just reread this book – The first review is here.  I have both the audio and the Kindle versions because one of them was on a super sale after I’d got the first.  –  As a result of this rereading I upped my rating .5 and may pump it agin.

I was checking through the book wondering about that tower the narrator kept seeing,  then didn’t see for awhile,  and then saw very plainly.   After about a second it was pretty obvious it signified death.  Sometimes it was close,  other times it was far away.  And then I realized that one of the main themes is death and immortality.   That kind of sucked me in and I found myself rereading the whole thing.

The thief thinks he uses stealing to prolong his life – and in a way the thrill of it might do this a bit –

The more I stole, I believed, the further I would move away from the tower. Before long the tension of stealing became more and more attractive. The strain as my fingers touched other people’s things and the reassuring warmth that followed. It was the act of denying all values, trampling all ties…. I don’t know whether it was because I crossed a certain line or simply because I was growing older, but without my realizing it the tower had vanished.   (p. 182)

Reaching out my hands to steal, I had turned my back on everything, rejected community, rejected wholesomeness and light. I had built a wall around myself and lived by sneaking into the gaps in the darkness of life. Despite that, however, for some reason I felt that I wanted to be here for a little while longer.  (p. 174)

He sticks it out with the boy because he wants this kind of remembrance – he meets a young boy he identifies with,  teaches him,  tries to guide him a bit – later he plays ball with the boy in the park – notices other fathers.  He takes care of the boy and makes sure that later he is better cared for than with his mother.  He tells the boy good-bye:

“Listen,” I told him. “I’ve got to go on a long trip, so I won’t be able to see you any more. But don’t waste your life. Even if there’s times when you’re miserable, you’ll always have the last laugh.”  (p. 190)

There are some rather clumsy attempts to be philosophical about fate and I really didn’t care for them much – would a Japanese gang lord bother to expound on this to his victim even if the victim was well known to him?  –  Oh well … a brief mental moment on the part of the gang lord – watching someone die can do that.

Yup – I might just have to up the rating –

Three Percent Review (translated works)

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