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Ryu Murakami: 限りなく透明に近いブルー (Almost Transparent Blue)

If you liked Trainspotting, Grits or The Naked Lunch, you are probably going to like this, a Japanese story of young people strung out on drugs, booze and sex and not much else. The hero is called, of course, Ryu. He hangs out/is in love with Lilly but spends most of his time with Lilly and others shooting up and in casual sex. There is not really much else to say about this book. There is not much desperation about their situation, no real desire to escape (though one of the women says that when she has stopped having fun with this way of life, she would like to get married), not even much reaction to overdosing. Indeed, the only reaction is some concern (but not much) when one of the men beats up his girlfriend. If you want to read about how Japanese young people can be as self-destructive as Americans or Brits, then this might be the book for you.

Publishing history

First published 1976 by Kodansha
First English translation Kodansha 1977
Translated by Nancy Andrew