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Peter Carey, Wrong About Japan.

A brief note on the book I bought yesterday.

Now, it should be said, I like Carey. Out of the last two things I read of his, I thought The True History of the Kelly Gang was an excellent mediation on the creation of a criminal in society, and I enjoyed his Thirty Days in Sydney, despite the fact that it was essentially a rich man's tour of the city. It was an interesting enough tour and discussion of the city that I forgave him for brushing off the Western suburbs, where the majority of Sydney live, and thus missing the giant cultural melt that is Sydney. I cae to this book thinking I would enjoy it, like those, but Wrong About Japan is really, really, really minor.

In fact, it just shouldn't have been published.

Perhaps it's because I'm well versed in anime and manga, but the book, clocking in under a hundred and twenty pages, was a real quick, light read both on page counts and content. The premise of his book is essentially that Carey, being loaded with cash and an important author, decides that because his son has a Japanese fetish going, that they should go to Japan and meet famous people. That's a nice thing for a father to do and all, but it hardly makes a compelling read, since I just don't care about the relationships of the Carey family.

In many ways, the book is embarrassing to read. There is something cringe worthy in reading Carey's meetings with people. He's a clearly intelligent and fascinating writer in his own right, but when he mets directors and artists and even, at one stage, a sword maker, there is a realisation in the reader that Carey has just no real point to going up to these people and that's just fucking around with their time. He's just a rich white guy indulging in the whims of his son. You can almost imagine the men (and they are all men, even when they are transsexuals) turning to their friends afterwards, and saying, "What was all that about?"

There are some nice insights into manga and anime drawn out, but really, if you're well versed in the material, I can't imagine you would get much out of it.


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Nov. 12th, 2004 08:22 pm (UTC)
Thats certainly an interesting insight, as it was a book I was curious about. But its the Japanese pop culture(s) that intrest me, not Carey's relationship with his son. Thanks for the tip! :-)

BTW are u aware that on Jan 22 *all the episodes of the 80's Astro Boy TV show* became available on DVD-one giant collection for $197, from HMV/Borders etc. I can't wait!!!
Nov. 13th, 2004 06:16 am (UTC)
Correction: Nov 22 the Astro Boy collection comes out. I don't know what I was thinking of b4!!!!!!!
Nov. 13th, 2004 07:24 pm (UTC)
you get a bit into the japanese pop culture, but it's stuff that anyone with a passing interest will already know. i reckon the book will end up on one of thos remaindered tables sooner or later, so if you're curious, get it then.

as for astro boy... man, that's a fetish you're alone with. the show never did that much for me.
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