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Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man has all the trappings of a gripping detective story: a bereaved wife, a dead man whose name belongs to someone else, mysterious coded letters, a lawyer intent on uncovering the truth. Together with a wilfully understated title, however, these features belie a deeply thoughtful novel whose mystery premise gives way to an examination of the most profound questions of identity and artistic creation. In a work so rooted in Japanese cultural history, the questions posed by the author become distinctly literary, moving ultimately to address the very practice of novel-writing. In A Man, winner of Japan’s prestigious Yomiuri Prize for Literature, Keiichiro Hirano explores the search for identity, the ambiguity of memory, the legacies with which we live and die, and the reconciliation of who you hoped to be with who you’ve actually become.
Keiichiro Hirano was born in Gamagori, Aichi prefecture, Japan. He published his first novel (Nisshoku) in 1998 and won the Akutagawa Prize the next year as one of the youngest winners ever (at 23 years of age). He graduated from the Law Department of Kyoto University in 1999. In 2005 he was nominated as a cultural ambassador and spent a year in France.
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Free for Japan Society Members
Book available from AbeBooks, Amazon and Book Depository
Japanese version available here
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