$newsid = ''; ?> Thanks to Sheila who generously released her copy to the wild, I've just finished American Fuji by Sara Backer. It's a fun read, about an expat woman in Japan who reluctantly tries to help another American get to the bottom of the death of his son. It's closer to nonviolent suspense/whodunit than the literary fiction it's been marketed as, pitched maybe at the level of a good Elmore Leonard book albeit with more rounded characters. Like the suspense and mystery genres, it's vulnerable to occasional puncture by unlikely coincidences and "say what?!" plot points, but then you read on and the boat soon rights itself.
I wonder what people familiar with Japan would make of it, particularly after all the slams that Lost in Translation received for allegedly perpetuating stereotypes of the "inscrutable" Japanese. For what it's worth, American Fuji's gaijin characters are not as clueless as those in Lost in Translation, but I'm not sure the Japanese fare much better for being better understood. (Adam, Jenny -- have you read it?)