Film Noir meets Georges Simenon
“The Thief” was amazingly good. It’s about a Tokyo pick pocket who gets caught up with some big time criminals. It’s a very short book so I was shocked at how psychological it was. I’m not sure how the author was able to include such an in depth take on Nishimura, the main character in so few words. Nishimura spends his days on packed trains and packed streets finding his mark and swiftly moving in. He has standards though. He only takes the cash and puts the rest of the wallet with its contents in the mail to be sent back to his victim. Then an old friendship leads him to the gangsters. He’s forced into pulling what they say is a one time job. Nishimura is a loner until a street kid and his mother manage to touch his heart though he spends all his time denying it. This complicates his life but also makes him feel more hopeful.
It’s not so much what happens in this book that’s important but the meaning behind it. “The Thief” has a Film Noir atmosphere to it and I was also reminded of Georges Simenon’s fiction. There’s a dark cloud hanging over Nishimura and though he works hard to carefully put one foot in front of the other doom seems to hover right behind him. I still can’t believe the level of insight Nakamura was able to cram into so few words. He’s definitely a writer to keep your eye on. I hope the translations keep coming.
This review was based on an e-galley provided by the publisher.