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All she was worth by Miyuki Miyabe
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All she was worth (edition 1998)

by Miyuki Miyabe, Alfred Birnbaum (Translator)

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3911627,416 (3.59)30
Member:christiguc
Title:All she was worth
Authors:Miyuki Miyabe
Other authors:Alfred Birnbaum (Translator)
Info:London: Orion, 1998.
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:fiction, female author, japanese, japan, tokyo, mystery, crime, missing persons, male detective, shunsuke honma, orion, bookshelf18, read2013, TIOLI

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All She Was Worth by Miyuki Miyabe

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» See also 30 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
Great character development. ( )
  bibliofile55 | Apr 9, 2013 |
Since I can't update 'my' copy with the BCID of the book, here's the link to the book at BookCrossing:
http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/7367421

I liked this book. Not because I think it was such a great thriller, but because of other things.
First of all I loved the insight in the Japanese society. How people live, how things are organised. That world is so different from mine (and therefor so intriguing), that any description of more or less normal Japanese living is welcome.
Secondly, I liked the way the book is written. Detective is more the descripton I'd give to the contents of this book, not thriller. It is more about solving a puzzle, why and how a young woman disappears, than about the actual deed(s) of disappearing, murder (?), deceipt etc.
What I did not like is that the end does not bring clarity. When a woman is found, the story ends. What I had hoped for (and more or less expected from the way the book was written), is that the object of the search would get some speaking time also. At least to find out why, apart from the reasons already mentioned in the book, that are valid in themselves, but these are reasons outside the person.
To act the way she did, there also has to be something inside her, that allowed her to act the way she did. And that's the part I missed at the end.

One other remark that I wanted to make: I did not really understand the title. Usually there's a tie to the contents of the book, but here I could not rally grab it. Maybe it is the translation (sometimes translated titles are not so good), or maybe I am looking in the wrong direction. It is just that I can't connect the (my) meaning of the title to the contents of the book. ( )
1 vote BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
A tight, thrilling picture of Japan after the economic bubble. A thriller that manages to captivate without gore, violence, or physical crime. This is a great fictional look at the Japan of the late 90's. Solid writing is backed-up but solid translation. ( )
  loafhunter13 | Oct 17, 2011 |
This is quite readable, though I'm not entirely sure why. I found the characterisations quite distant (possibly because of the translation), the mystery not terribly mysterious (mostly focused on finding out how the crime was achieved, not why or by whom), and the ending quite abrupt. Yet some of the book's central themes—the dangers of materialism, of the credit system and how people get caught up in it—are sadly just as relevant now as they were when this book was written in the early 90s. My favourite aspect of the novel, and certainly the one which kept me reading, was Miyabe's description of Japanese society. The description of the family registers used as forms of personal identification were fascinating to me, as were the various social norms and pressures which conditioned and restricted character actions. ( )
1 vote siriaeve | Jul 23, 2010 |
The main premise of this book is a Tokyo police detective, Shunsuke Honma, who is on medical/disability leave, trying to locate the missing fiance of a distant relative. As he begins to peel back the complicated layers of this woman's past, he uncovers a story of personal identity theft and even murder. Overwhelming debt, personal bankruptcy, and ruthless loan sharks are central to the plot of why the fiance went missing and the theft of personal identity.

One of this novel's main themes seems to be critiquing Japanese attitudes and laws governing consumer debt and personal bankruptcy. There are a couple extended, shall I say...lectures...on the topic in the narrative. These lectures seem to attempt to place more of the blame on society and our economic system than on individuals for personal bankruptcy. I found the descriptions of the elaborate methods that Japan uses to control personal identity with the family registers very interesting, and these, naturally, play a critical role in the plotl.

The story moves somewhat slowly through the myriad of details uncovered as Honma methodically questions people about the missing woman and a more sinister plot becomes revealed bit by bit. I really liked the main character, Shunsuke Honma, and felt that his being a widower, his bad leg, and his 10 year old adopted son, made him a very sympathetic detective. The investigation took Honma all over Japan and it was intriguing to see how Japanese culture played into the story. ( )
  chinquapin | Jun 1, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 16 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miyuki Miyabeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birnbaum, AlfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The rain started just as the train pulled out of Ayase Station.
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Originally published in Japan under the title Kasha.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395966582, Paperback)

Recovering from a leg injury, a 43-year-old Tokyo police inspector named Shunsuke Honma realizes how out of touch he has become when a relative asks him to make some private inquiries into the disappearance of his fiancée. While he wasn't paying attention, it seems that everyone in the country but Honma has been caught up in a consumer feeding frenzy--going into heavy debt and declaring bankruptcy at a snowballing rate. This engrossing story of the search for happiness through shopping marks the first appearance in English of one of Japan's leading writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Tokyo's Inspector Shunsake Honma investigates the case of a woman who may have murdered another in order to take her identity. A tale of credit cards and debt and rampant consumerism in today's Japan.

(summary from another edition)

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