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Speed of Lightness

Barrie Sherwood
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Kyoto University student Aozora Fujiwara has been playing too much mah-jong and now he’s deep in debt. When Aunt Okane (‘money’) dies and leaves a collection of priceless art to him and his sister, Mai, he thinks his problems are solved.
But they’re only just beginning: Mai’s disappeared and he can’t liquidate the estate without her. The quest that ensues takes Aozora to the deep south of Japan and the unlikely setting of a Dutch theme park called, Amsterland…
The joy in Sherwood’s tale is in Aozora’s madcap journey, during which he meets a slew of silly—and often sinister—souls. Among them: an oyster-loving businessman who sells lifelike inflatable dolls, and a corpulent crime boss who looks like a cross between Liberace and Kim Jong-Il. In his carefully woven descriptions, Sherwood shows unusual insight into a fast-changing society of disaffected youth and sleazy governance. This picaresque on steroids offers a refreshingly irreverent look at contemporary life in a not entirely implausible Japan.

Published: Apr/2021

ISBN: 9789814914086

Length: 304 Pages

Speed of Lightness

Barrie Sherwood

Kyoto University student Aozora Fujiwara has been playing too much mah-jong and now he’s deep in debt. When Aunt Okane (‘money’) dies and leaves a collection of priceless art to him and his sister, Mai, he thinks his problems are solved.
But they’re only just beginning: Mai’s disappeared and he can’t liquidate the estate without her. The quest that ensues takes Aozora to the deep south of Japan and the unlikely setting of a Dutch theme park called, Amsterland…
The joy in Sherwood’s tale is in Aozora’s madcap journey, during which he meets a slew of silly—and often sinister—souls. Among them: an oyster-loving businessman who sells lifelike inflatable dolls, and a corpulent crime boss who looks like a cross between Liberace and Kim Jong-Il. In his carefully woven descriptions, Sherwood shows unusual insight into a fast-changing society of disaffected youth and sleazy governance. This picaresque on steroids offers a refreshingly irreverent look at contemporary life in a not entirely implausible Japan.

Select Preferred Format

Barrie Sherwood

A native of Hong Kong, Barrie Sherwood grew up in rural British Columbia before moving on to Quebec, England, France and Japan. Since 2013, he has been Assistant Professor in the School of Humanities at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He lives with his wife and daughters within walking distance of Chomp Chomp. Barrie’s publications include The Pillow Book of Lady Kasa (DC Books, Montreal, 2000), Escape from Amsterdam (Granta Books, London, 2007; St Martin’s Minotaur, New York, 2008) and The Angel Tiger and Other Stories (Epigram Books, Singapore, 2019). His short fiction has been anthologized in Best New Singaporean Short Stories Volume 4 and Food Republic. His fiction and non-fiction has been published in the journals Stand, The Istanbul Review, Matrix, Lighthouse, QLRS, Asia Literary Review and TEXT.