Winner of Japan's 2009 Ōe Prize (an award for literary novels judged by Nobel laureate Kenzaburō Ōe), Nakamura's English-language debut chronicles the aftermath of a "perfect crime" in which the titular thief plays a small role. It also delineates the time leading up to and after the moment when the crime's mastermind ensnares him with another three jobs.
Using this spare plot as its basis, Nakamura deftly creates the tale of a Tokyo pickpocket while exploring questions of fate and manipulation. Here, the underworld bears little trace of the glamor that sometimes occurs in works featuring an anti-hero. As this criminal world consumes its members along with its victims, readers are treated to an empathetic portrayal of a man whose desire for life resurfaces under duress.
The thief - whose name is revealed once in a quick aside - robs only the rich,...
Beyond the Book
Once known as Edo and renamed in the late 1860s, Tokyo - the capital of Japan - is a densely populated metropolis that has over 12 million inhabitants in the city proper and approximately 36 million people in the larger metropolitan prefecture. Located in the Kant? region, it is comprised of 23 wards, as well as 62 municipalities, which are served by over 500 train stations. Tokyo's electric trains, employed by locals and commuters alike, are known for their efficiency as well as their aesthetics.
Mentioned in The Thief
are the Marunouchi line, which travels to the heart of Tokyo, a commercial and tourist...