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Steve Finbow

Steve Finbow writes book reviews and interviews authors. His most recent book, “Allen Ginsberg: Critical Lives,” was published in 2012. He flits between Japan and England.

For Steve Finbow's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Grace shines through Nagai's tales of horror

Jan 15, 2012

Grace shines through Nagai's tales of horror

GEORGIC, by Mariko Nagai. BkMk Press, 2010, 163 pp., $15.95 (paperback) Between writing the “Eclogues” and the “Aeneid,” the Roman poet Virgil composed the “Georgics,” published circa 29 B.C., which deals with rural lives, agriculture and all things bucolic. In the “Inferno,” Virgil acted ...

Dec 25, 2011

Bubble-wrap novel far from bubble gum

Winner of the Prix Goncourt, Michel Houellebecq, in his latest novel, “The Map and the Territory,” takes us into the world of art and the life of Jed Martin, rival of Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons, and fan of a writer called … Michel ...

Nov 20, 2011

'1Q84': What I write about when I write about writing

1Q84: Books One and Two, by Haruki Murakami. Translated by Jay Rubin. Harvill Secker, 2011, 624 pp., £20.00 (hardcover). 1Q84: Book Three, by Haruki Murakami. Translated by Philip Gabriel, Harvill Secker, 2011, 368 pp., £14.99 (hardcover) Haruki Murakami’s new novel may triangulate three pieces ...

Oct 16, 2011

Laid-back celebration of the empty and ordinary

PLAINSONG, by Kazushi Hosaka, translated by Paul Warham, Dalkey Archive Press, 2011, 176 pp., $18 (paper) After being dumped by his girlfriend and moving to a new apartment, the anonymous anti-hero of this plaintive novel finds himself drawn to the life of a recluse, ...

Meticulous ode to love and fate

Oct 2, 2011

Meticulous ode to love and fate

It is rather disconcerting to read a novel that opens with the assertion that “I’ve already slid right on past the big five-oh — a milestone no one thinks is very pretty and few are eager to reach — to become a man of ...

Sep 18, 2011

Existence is but a brief shimmer of light

INCIDENTAL MUSIC, by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa. BlazeVOX, 2010, 112 pp., $16.00 (paper); and NOTATIONAL, by Jane Joritz-Nakagawa. Otoliths, 2011, 68 pp., $12.45 (paper). If the saying is true that “writing about art is like dancing about architecture” — or, as Martin Amis argues, that, when ...

Jul 31, 2011

Tantalizingly tangled dead-man mystery

THE DEVOTION OF SUSPECT X, by Keigo Higashino. Translated by Alexander O. Smith. Minotaur Books, 2011, 304 pp., $24.99 (hardcover) A jogger discovers a male corpse wrapped in blue tarpaulin on the Tokyo embankment of the Edogawa. Someone has stripped the man’s body, beaten ...

Untouchable lays bare a divided nation

May 22, 2011

Untouchable lays bare a divided nation

With ebooks increasingly dominating the publishing market, it is a pleasure to hold a printed book so gorgeously designed as this one; the cover alone would make it a welcome addition to any Kenji Nakagami collection. NAKAGAMI, JAPAN: Buraku and the Writing of Ethnicity, ...

Revenge of the aunties

May 1, 2011

Revenge of the aunties

If the collective noun for a bunch of morons is a “drool,” then what would it be for a group of feckless twenty-something cretins? A “slobber”? A “salivation”? The group of six men in this rollicking satire run the entire gamut of idiocy as ...

Apr 10, 2011

Poetry lies in wait to spring at our throats

NONZEN POEMS, by Morgan Gibson. Printed Matter Press, 2010, 100 pp., $15 (paper) Translator, scholar and poet Morgan Gibson’s collection “Nonzen Poems” divides into four parts concerned variously with breath, nature, Buddhism, and the author’s mentors and contemporaries — notably Kenneth Rexroth and Allen ...