If writers were generals, young Fuminori Nakamura would have an embarrassment of metals and ribbons
on his chest — including a chance at The Los Angeles Times best
thriller/suspense for 2012. The Thief is
his first book translated into English.
It won’t be his last.
Words and sentences are razor slices, forceful.Quick and short. Tough as well as elegant as
they are, the minimized narrative and terse dialogue deliver surprisingly full-bodied,
fully textured inner and outer worlds.As a reader I was involuntarily swept along. Later, backing off a bit
and looking at it as a writer, I wanted to understand the brush strokes of his
work. I wanted to know how he packed so
much feeling into this brief, unsentimentally written book.
The story is not complex.I would pose that it contrasts a man who lives in a world he creates and
controls. We might find his life sad, tawdry, but it is not without meaning
for him.It has value here and
there.His pickpocket profession is not
without some measure of fulfillment. He has talent, enjoys challenges,
appreciates in a modest way his accomplishments. He is not propelled by ambition or greed. One could easily conclude that it is art that he practices.
One mistake. He allows others to enter his sphere — and we
can argue fate and free will if we choose.Or we can say that this is Noir.One
mistake.That’s all you get.
The Thief is published by Soho Press and translated by
Satoko Izumo and Stephen Coates