The Floating Girl: Rei Shimura Mysteries 4

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Teaser: This novel focuses on Shimura Rei's part-time job at a Gaijin (foreigner in Japan) magazine at which she writes a antiques column. The magazine decides to start publishing its pages in a manga-like (comic book style) format. Rei then, with the help of her new beau Takeo, starts doing research on a rare doujinshi (fan made comics about mainstream series) for her article. As Rei begins to track down the artists for interviews, they mysteriously disappear or refuse to answer her questions. What could be so dangerous and sensitive about a comic book?

Short Thought
: Complex mystery intertwined with an interesting underground culture.

Expanded Thoughts
: If this were a stand-alone novel, I would have rated it much higher. Perhaps, the inconsistencies were due to the fact that I could not get a hold of the 3rd novel (Flower Master, out of print currently), but it has a completely different feel than "Salaryman's Wife" and "Zen Attitude." Also, maybe I'm a little biased because I like her last beau, Hugh, much better.

I enjoyed certain aspects about this novel very much. The inside look at the politics that go on in a Japanese work environment was probably the most interesting layer in the novel. (I have heard horror stories from some of my friends who have worked in one.) Also, I learned a lot about the "manga" culture and artists. I never knew it was so mainstream or taken so seriously. (Oops, my ethnocentrism is showing.) Lastly, the change in the main character's personality and actions as she dates a traditional Japanese man (Her last boyfriend was Scottish) that just adds to the internal heritage (she's half-Japanese and half-American) struggle that is ever present within her.

Additional Notes: This is the 4th book in the Rei Shimura Mysteries by Sujata Massey.

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