*This book made it as far as the so-called 'Big Six' publishers.*
'THE' voice of a generation, lost in Tokyo.
A young American college graduate travels to Tokyo to find his fortune. There, he joins a fast-moving, high-spending, drug-using crowd of louche foreigners. After one particularly disastrous party, criminal charges are filed, reputations are ruined, and the narrator is targeted by an enraged father who is also a senior US embassy commissioner. Involved with a hooker girlfriend and thoroughly addicted to the drugs with which he once only experimented, the narrator is confronted on his inner-most resources to overcome the greatest challenge of his life. From the members’ rooms of Japan’s most exclusive private clubs, to the penthouse suites of its ennui-filled glitterati, to the luxury yachts populating Tokyo Bay, HARAJUKU SUNDAY unfolds against a background of the beautiful and damned: a story about modern Tokyo, drug use, and the lives of young Americans at the far edge of the Pacific Rim. Drawing comparisons to the work of the young Yukio Mishima and Ryu Murakami, SUNDAY is Lost in Translation meets Brideshead Revisited in an elegy for a lost period of expat life.
Top-50, Christmas 2011, Literary Fiction, Amazon.com. (BookRank)
It can begin anywhere. Soren comes up to me on the Keihin-Tohoku line home from work on a Thursday evening and at first I don't know who he is. All I notice is a figure in my peripheral vision standing up out of one of the traincar seats, approaching me, and in clear unaccented American English saying, "Ritchie? Ritchie, is that you?" Surprised by this unexpected greeting, I look over and realize that I do recognize the person. His name is…Soren. Right. Soren Soutern. Three weeks ago, he had put an advertisement on Tokyo Metropolis website, offering to trade a box of English-language books for a packet of non-Japanese cigarettes. It's not easy for expats to get paperbacks and moreover, the whole ad had been funny, reading ‘bring me over a pack of non-Japanese cigarettes and you’ll get in an entire cardboard box of recent paperbacks in return.' With all these earnest 'English lessons for 2500 yen' or 'Japanese girl seeks English language partner for foreign exchange' entries crowding up the listserv, the seemingly ironic ad had to be investigated. Moreover, I had had, by chance, a whole carton of duty-free Sobranies lying around the apartment that I had picked up last visit stateside and never found anyone to gift to. So I called up the listed phone number, noted the unexpected address, and went later that day with the cigarettes and a tacky American-flag lighter added in purely as a bonus. I returned home that evening with a good-sized box of both cheap paperbacks but also some quality college lit titles all in decent condition, definitely a good deal.
About S. Michael Choi
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Published September 2, 2011
Literature & Fiction.