Middle-aged, divorced, and lonely, TV scriptwriter Harada wanders back to Tokyo’s Asakusa entertainment district where he grew up. Although the district, Tokyo’s old downtown, is not what it used to be, it is still the place Harada associates with his childhood and his parents, who died in a tragic accident there that left him an orphan. But wandering Asakusa he meets a likeable couple who look exactly like his parents did when they died. They may be apparitions, but nostalgic Harada takes solace in seeing them. Trouble is, he grows more gaunt with each visit.
Winner of the Yamamoto Shugoro Prize for the best human-interest novel of the year, Strangers is an ethereal and contemplative journey into the womb of a city whose living inhabitants have perhaps lost their souls.
Taichi Yamada worked at the world-renowned Shochiku film studios until he set out on a highly successful career as a freelance scriptwriter that changed the Japanese TV drama forever. A household name synonymous with thoughtful entertainment in his own country, this is Taichi Yamada’s English-language debut.
A thinking man’s ghost story
from Japan’s greatest TV scriptwriter
“Highly recommended. A cerebral and haunting ghost story, which completely wrong-footed me.”
—David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas
“A ghost story that pens in spare strokes a portrait of urban alienation…the powerful mood of Strangers lingers well after its graceful, downbeat ending has passed.”
—The Guardian Unlimited
“Strangers’ final, superbly sneaky twist projects a new, darker version of the novel, leaving readers haunted, bereft of the love story we seemed to be reading.”
—The Spectator UK
“Strangers is written with a tone that reveals great emotional discernment.” —Peter Burnett for Scotland on Sunday
“A well-written novel that subtly raises perplexing questions like a laidback psychological thriller, then eggs on curious readers like a good mystery page-turner...Strangers can also spark and warm the intellect of a cold rational mind.” —Asian Reporter
“This extremely interesting novel reads as elegiac…there is a poignant sense of the past, and a premonition of its awful weight.” —Donald Richie, The Japan Times
“An eerie ghost story written with hypnotic clarity: quickly-paced, intelligent, and haunting with passages of acute psychological insight into the relationship between children and their parents, which is also what makes this fascinating book so moving. He is among the best Japanese writers I have read.”
—Bret Easton Ellis, author of American Psycho
“Hauntingly told, with a sublimely subtle undercurrent to the tides of emotion, Strangers is an unforgettable journey through memories and the inner striving to reach out and contact others.” —The Midwest Book Review