Title AMERICAN FUJI
Book Condition F/NF
Publisher Putnam Publishing Group 2001
0399146911 / 9780399146916
Seller ID RWARE0000007992
A tight clean first edition, protected in a new brodart wrapper, not price clipped/ex library or a book of the month edition. Since the late 1970s, young Americans have made their way to Japan to teach English, pay off student loans, and generally have a good time. A happy by product of this exodus has been the American-in-Japan novel. The comic poss ibilities of the form are obvious: bumbling foreigner tries to learn the cu stoms of the inscrutable East. In American Fuji, first-time novelist Sara B acker hits all the comic notes, but takes the time to examine the very real allure of living in another culture. Gaby Stanton, fired from her job as a university professor in provincial Shizuoka, has a gig selling fantasy funerals to the dying Japanese rich. Her job puts her in the path of Alexander Thorn, a middle-aged American who has just arrived in Japan determined to decipher the mystery surrounding the death of his son, an exchange student. The perspective of the novel shifts back and forth between these two characters as Gaby and Alexander stumble on a yakuza ring, unearth medical secrets, and sprout romantic feelings for each other. The two gradually develop a Hepburn-Tracy-style combative relationship. Still, Backer's sympathies clearly lie with Gaby, a thirtysomething woman with health problems who relishes her automatic outsider status in Japan. If everything she does is strange to her host culture, then her illness doesn't matter. But the introduction of Alexander is a wise move, allowing Backer to show us Japan through the perpetually startled eyes of a newcomer.