The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura

64%

16 Critic Reviews

A spare but otherwise routine two rounds of larceny and betrayal fleshed out by the narrator’s reflections on the Zen of picking pockets.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

The Thief is a seasoned pickpocket. Anonymous in his tailored suit, he weaves in and out of Tokyo crowds, stealing wallets from strangers so smoothly sometimes he doesn't even remember the snatch. Most people are just a blur to him, nameless faces from whom he chooses his victims. He has no family, no friends, no connections.... But he does have a past, which finally catches up with him when Ishikawa, his first partner, reappears in his life, and offers him a job he can't refuse. It's an easy job: tie up an old rich man, steal the contents of the safe. No one gets hurt. Only the day after the job does he learn that the old man was a prominent politician, and that he was brutally killed after the robbery. And now the Thief is caught in a tangle even he might not be able to escape.

'The Thief seems destined to become a landmark thriller... a masterpiece.' Daily Mail
 

About Fuminori Nakamura

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Fuminori Nakamura was born in 1977 and graduated from Fukushima University in 2000. In 2002, he won the prestigious Noma Literary Prize for New Writers for his first novel, A Gun, and in 2005 he won the Akutagawa prize for The Boy in the Earth. The Thief, winner of the 2010 Oe Prize, Japan's most important literary award, is his first novel to be published in English.
 
Published March 20, 2012 by Soho Crime. 304 pages
Genres: Crime, Education & Reference, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Thief
All: 16 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Below average
Feb 15 2012

A spare but otherwise routine two rounds of larceny and betrayal fleshed out by the narrator’s reflections on the Zen of picking pockets.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Jan 09 2012

Nakamura’s memorable antihero, at once as believably efficient as Donald Westlake’s Parker and as disaffected as a Camus protagonist, will impress genre and literary readers alike.

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Wall Street Journal

Excellent
Reviewed by Tom Nolan on Mar 16 2012

"The Thief" concludes with an either-or ending that robs readers of a clear-cut resolution—without making them feel in any way cheated.

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Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Elizabeth Provenzano on Apr 03 2012

The chapters are quick and the simplicity of the story is brilliant.

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Book Reporter

Excellent
Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on Apr 06 2012

Those who like their stories served up dark and grim will hail THE THIEF as the classic it is.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Maureen Corrigan on Mar 02 2012

Plot, that guiltiest of literary pleasures, is in short supply here.

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Bestsellersworld

Below average
Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair on Apr 06 2012

In the end, there seems to be a lot of things left unanswered for the reader to maul over.

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Cleveland.com

Above average
Reviewed by Eleanor Mallet on Apr 19 2012

"The Thief" works as a very good crime thriller. But it also is a portrait of a complex character. Two figures keep recurring in the narrator's thoughts.

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Time Out Chicago

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonathan Messinger on Apr 05 2012

...a breath of fresh air for readers looking for something beyond the procedural.

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Richmond Times-Dispatch

Excellent
Reviewed by Doug Childers on Apr 08 2012

Nakamura's prose is cut-to-the-bone lean, but it moves across the page with a seductive, even voluptuous agility. I defy you not to finish the book in a single sitting.

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Gumshoe Review

Below average
Reviewed by Mel Jacob

Thriller and mystery readers are unlikely to find the novel enthralling or puzzling enough.

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Tzer Island

Good
Reviewed by TChris on Mar 21 2012

The Thief is a Japanese version of noir, a dark psychological thriller that builds suspense rapidly

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Opinions of a Wolf Blog

Below average
Apr 02 2012

It all felt a bit too sudden to me. I wanted to know the narrator and his relationship to his teacher better.

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International Noir Fiction

Good
Reviewed by Glenn Harper on Mar 02 2012

The drily philosophical tone and the noir atmosphere combine perfectly, providing a rapid and enjoyable "read" that is nonetheless cool and distant, provoking the reader to think about... the tale.

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Crime Segments Blog

Good
Reviewed by Nancy on Mar 26 2012

...the author amps up the pace without using any gimmicky literary devices, letting the suspense build until you have to keep turning pages just to find out what's going to happen.

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Dead Ink Blog

Below average
Reviewed by Ian Caithness on Feb 07 2012

There are so many dimensions to the novel that the author could have explored that he chose not to... All of these dimensions could have been explored but, sadly, they weren’t.

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Reader Rating for The Thief
59%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 108 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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