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Murakami’s 69, a side-splittingly funny coming-of-age novel set in the Japan of the sixties
In a small, inconsequential city in Japan, all that matters to 17-year-old Kensuke Yazaki and his friends is girls, rock music and, to a much lesser extent, school. Told at high speed and with irresistible humour by Kensuke himself, this is the story of their 1969, as they engage in heated conversations about Marxism, Rimbaud, Godard, the Beatles and the Stones, set up a barricade in their school, organise a rock festival and map out a highly successful strategy in girl-winning. This is a young Japan entirely turned towards the West, pervaded by Western music, where the girls have nicknames pulled from famous British films, but still locked in a fight with the rigid post-war conservatism of the older generation.
Translated from the Japanese by Ralph McCarthy and published by Pushkin Press
‘A light, rollicking, sometimes hilarious, but never sentimental picture of late-sixties Japan.’
‘A great deal of fun, and Murakami … is a find.’
‘The hero is a thoroughly engaging smartass.’
Los Angeles Times
A superb and very funny bluffer, and one sympathizes with him all the way.
‘A cross between The Catcher and the Rye and The Strawberry Statement.’
Review of Contemporary Fiction
Born in 1952 in Nagasaki prefecture, Ryu Murakami is the enfant terrible of contemporary Japanese literature. Awarded the prestigious Akutagawa Prize in 1976 for his first book, a novel about a group of young people drowned in sex and drugs, he has gone on to explore with cinematic intensity the themes of violence and technology in contemporary Japanese society. His novels include Coin Locker Babies, Sixty-Nine, Popular Hits of the Showa Era, Audition, In the Miso Soup and From the Fatherland, with Love. Murakami is also a screenwriter and a director; his films include Tokyo Decadence, Audition and Because of You.