Reviews

All She Was Worth, by Miyuki Miyabe

siria's review

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3.0

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.

ksparks's review

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3.0

I enjoyed this one. It's a straightforward police procedural, old school style, but it kept my interest and I liked that one of the contributing factors behind the crime, which she discussed in detail, was the credit crisis of the 80's in Japan (and the ongoing issue of consumer debt. Really she went into a little too much detail, but I was interested so I didn't care. But mostly, I really liked the gentle, polite detective Shunsuke and the descriptions of Japanese culture/society.

nkmeyers's review

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4.0

The way the investigator's boy partially knows, comes to know, and yet can't fully know the motives of the adult characters perfectly evokes the way no person can truly know another's inner world.

Inside this milieux we explore the way debt and credit create another layer of personae and motive - for people to tend, investigate, punish and escape in their encounters with one another.

A world where a person can exhibit fastidious personal habits, love and be loved, while at the same time live duplicitously and in fear because of a ruined financial reputation. This world is the world we've created and the place our children will have to navigate as they search for love, home, security, community - the author leaves us wondering if anyone can truly connect with another in this place or reconcile past with present .

aug3zimm's review

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3.0

Seemed very mystery focused so the not-related bits that popped up felt a little forced like I was just waiting for when that would create a lightbulb moment related to the case. Also, some of the translation was weird. "Keeping up with the Tanakas" kind of threw me. I mean, yes, I get the meaning behind it but it just feels weird. Overall I felt that this started very promising but just kind of flattened out into a lecture about credit cards and it lost a lot of steam for me there. But it was interesting to see the different structure of things in Japan compared to what I am used to.

sarah42783's review

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4.0

This is definitely the best mystery I have read in a long time. It's actually a lot more than a mystery, as it reveals a lot about Japanese culture. Not only is the book well-plotted and very well written, it is also very absorbing. Once I started reading, I just couldn't put it down. Miyabe manages to take the mystery to the next level by offering great insight into Japanese life, through a very well-crafted cast of characters. This is an excellent read, recommended both to mystery lovers and those interested in the Japanese culture.

offmessage's review

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4.0

Taut crime thriller with a great lead detective and rich supporting cast. Also beautifully Japanese in tone and topics, and very well translated to boot. Glad I sought it out, worth the £7 or so for a second hand copy.

jameseckman's review

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4.0

A disabled detective drops into the underworld of loan sharks looking for a relative's fiance. Was she a victim or villain or? Enthralling, I binge read it with a brief time out for lunch. No fantasy elements in this one though...

librosprestados's review

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3.0

La editorial publicitaba este título como thriller, pero la verdad es que se trata más de una historia detectivesca. Thriller, lo que se dice thriller, solo lo es hacia las páginas finales. El resto es un misterio que se articula como un puzle, en el que se nos va desvelando cada pieza poco a poco.

Nos cuenta la historia de Honma, un policía de baja por un balazo en la rodilla, que accede a la petición de su sobrino de encontrar a la prometida de éste, que ha desaparecido subitamente. Y a partir de ahí comienza una investigación que nos habla de la sociedad japonesa y de uno de sus aspectos que tal vez no sea tan conocido: cómo a partir de los años 80 los japoneses empezaron a usar y abusar de las tarjetas de crédito, de comprar a crédito, haciendo que muchos de ellos acabaran con deudas astronómicas y dentro de un círculo vicioso que no podía romper: para pagar las deudas, se metían aún en más deudas, hasta llegar a prestamistas sin escrupulos, y al final, a los yakuza, en busca de dinero, empeorando aún más su situación. Digamos que la sociedad japonesa, como dirían los poiticos actuales "vivió por encima de sus posibilidades", hasta la crisis económica de la que aún no ha levantado cabeza del todo. Y es curioso cómo una sociedad tan diferente a la española se sumió en una crísis de deuda tan parecida a la española, solo que la respuesta de los japoneses (por su propia cultura) fue diferente. Porque también vemos otro aspecto de la sociedad japonesa en esta novela: como el individuo como tal puede que exista teoricamente en Japón, pero en realidad es un elemento más dentro de la familia, que es el núcleo en el que se asienta la sociedad japonesa. Tú eres miembro de una familia, no tanto un individuo. Y a su vez esto hace que el individuo como tal, esté un poco desprotegido.

Y tal vez sea esto uno de los puntos flojos de la novela, porque durante toda la historia vas descubriendo qué pasó con esa joven, de qué va toda la historia, pero a la vez, termina la novela y puedes decir que no conoces a esa mujer, que en realidad no sabes cómo es. Creo que es algo buscado por la propia autora, pero a mí me frustró un poco, porque yo sí que quería conocer su verdadera personalidad.

En resumen, un misterio detectivesco muy entretenido de leer, que enseña mucho sobre el registro civil y de familia japonés, sobre cómo te presentas en sociedad y cómo puedes demostrar quién eres, sobre la política de créditos de bancos y tiendas, y sobre cómo y por qué alguien puede terminar hasta el cuello de deudas y cómo la cultura nipona se enfrenta a ello.

cindyc3689's review

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4.0

Aaaakk... endingnya.... khas jepun sekali. Gak perlu epilog dan penjelasan berkepanjangan. Semua hasil penyelidikan telah terpaparkan seperti keping2 puzzle.

Ini pertama kalinya aku membaca kisah crimefic di mana baik si korban maupun si pembunuh sama2 dicitrakan dari pov orang lain sepenuhnya. Korban tak pernah muncul sama sekali, sdgkan si pembunuh hanya nongol di bbrp paragraf terakhir novel. Tp meski demikian, motif, alibi, cara bahkan latar belakang keduanya tetap jd unsur terpenting cerita, dan disajikan lengkap... dari pandangan mereka yg mengenalnya masing2.

Aaakk.... keren pokoknya.... (sayang edisi terjemahannya gak keren dan sedikit mengecewakan)

Review lengkap ada di:
https://readbetweenpages.blogspot.co.id/2016/06/all-she-was-worth.html

bookish_sabrina's review

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3.0

The main takeaways of this book are the dangers of credit card debt.