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Publisher's Summary

A man follows another man's trail of lies in a compelling psychological story about the search for identity, by Japan's award-winning literary sensation Keiichiro Hirano in his first novel to be translated into English.

Akira Kido is a divorce attorney whose own marriage is in danger of being destroyed by emotional disconnect. With a midlife crisis looming, Kido's life is upended by the reemergence of a former client, Rié Takemoto. She wants Kido to investigate a dead man - her recently deceased husband, Daisuké. Upon his death she discovered that he’d been living a lie. His name, his past, his entire identity belonged to someone else, a total stranger. The investigation draws Kido into two intriguing mysteries: finding out who Rié's husband really was and discovering more about the man he pretended to be. Soon, with each new revelation, Kido will come to share the obsession with - and the lure of - erasing one life to create a new one.

In A Man, winner of Japan’s prestigious Yomiuri Prize for Literature, Keiichiro Hirano explores the search for identity, the ambiguity of memory, the legacies with which we live and die, and the reconciliation of who you hoped to be with who you’ve actually become.

©2018 Keiichiro Hirano. Translation © 2020 by Eli K. P. William. (P)2020 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What listeners say about A Man

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The best of modern Japanese literature

This book deserves to become a classic, and the author, Keiichiro Hirano, deserves to be seen as one of the great modern Japanese writers by a worldwide audience.

Having read great literature (Tolstoy, Buzzati), I can say that this novel has the same qualities: realism, emotional power, psychological depth, and philosophical insight. The story revolves around the investigation of a recently deceased man who had been hiding his true identity. Though this mystery person makes almost no personal appearances in the novel, it is a testament to the authors ability that by the end of it, we get a clear and vivid sense of who he was, and what motivated his strange actions. Hirano demonstrates strong insight into people, and accurate understanding of topics like law, society, genetics, etc.

The narrator, Brian Nishii, does a terrific job. He meets all the criteria of what makes a great audiobook narrator: being able to capture the emotion in the text, to voice the opposite gender, to give each major character a distinct personality. Furthermore his pronunciation of Japanese words is spot on.

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  • Edward Erickson
  • 28-08-2020

Beautiful

I really appreciated the insight of Japanese history and the Korean racial histories. With all that is happening in the U.S. right now around historical racial issues it is interesting to learn about challenges in other cultures. The story is very absorbing and the exploration of the subject fascinating. The philosophical contemplations and relational struggles are masterfully done. I would like to read additional works by this author. Thank you for bringing this to the English language. The performance by Nishii is terrific. Handles so many voices and personalities in nuanced and expert ways. I really enjoyed this book as I worked on putting in a new floor and cabinets in my kitchen.

6 people found this helpful

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  • federico
  • 08-08-2020

Sutil

Poetic . Philosophical. Beautifully written. Entreating cinematographic description . Contemplative. sincere out pour of emotions
Highly recommend

6 people found this helpful

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  • John S.
  • 18-07-2020

Definitely recommended

I found the author pulled off the double-mystery angle here well. Main character, not part of either situation directly, came across well enough that the details of his own personal life were relavant for me. Had to pay attention to the audio to keep from losing the plot; in that respect, reading print might have been easier, especially with Japanese names! However, Brian Nishii's specialization in Japanese terms works well with him overall as narrator. Translation so efficient that I got the feeling it had been written in English in the first place.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Cherry Davis
  • 22-08-2020

Wonderful

A thoughtful story that takes its time enveloping you in the lives of memorable characters as it unwinds a mystery involving love, loss and the search for identify.

Superb narration as well

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kawailani
  • 16-08-2020

Intriguing

This is my first book by Japanese writer in English translation. Audible narrator does good job pronouncing Japanese names and places naturally.

1 person found this helpful

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  • freehope
  • 28-06-2020

Interesting story, good narration

This was an interesting story, somewhat hard to relate to if you don't understand Japanese culture and the pressures to conform and be accepted by society.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tiffany
  • 04-06-2020

WTF... it's so good

I love this story so much. The narrator was also top notch.
I'm recommending this to everyone I know

1 person found this helpful

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  • Diana Rose
  • 13-08-2021

Would Make an Award Winning Film

see my final review to be posted at www.instagram.com/angelsmomreads. links in bio to my good reads and blog. My fave read of August 2021

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  • Hazy
  • 11-06-2021

Some stunning moments

I really enjoyed this book. Hirano skillfully took me to places I have given no thought to throughout my life. There were many very sensitive passages, some excruciatingly painful, some surprisingly beautiful. Although one part dipped for me, Hirano avoided crashing into political or ethical theoretical discourse. Keeping the characters straight in my mind was almost impossible but the story was more than powerful enough to keep pulling me forward. Great book, not for everyone but some readers will find this title fantastic as I did. Loved the narrator.

*****DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS
*****SPOINLERS SPOILERS SPOILERS coming to help clarify the characters in this fine and wonderful novel
*****DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU DON'T WANT SPOILERS
Even though I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, I was extremely confused about who was who, which name belonged with which person. I'm sure my notes will be pretty confusing but it may help some motivated readers/listeners. Hirano's book was extremely engaging but keeping names straight was no easy task and I personally needed to re-listen to passages multiple times to grasp who was who. (Please forgive name spelling errors)

KIDO-SAN: the main character investigating what is going on.
KAORI: Kido's wife
SOTA: Kido's son

DAISUKE TANIGUCHI "X" (the fake Daisuke Taniguchi referred to by Kido-san as "X"): Makoto Kobayashi's third alias, husband of Rie, the main mystery guy Kido is trying to figure out. Makoto Kobayashi who became Makoto Hara, who became Yoshihiko Sonezaki, who finally became Daisuke Taniguchi got this name from the real Daisuke Taniguchi.
YOSHIHIKO SONEZAKI: Makoto Kobayashi's second alias. The real Makoto Kobayashi got this second alias from some unknown guy named Yoshihiko Sonezaki. Makoto Kobayashi trades this name Yoshihiko Sonezaki with the real Daisuke Taniguchi, Makoto Kobayashi becomes Daisuke Taniguchi, The real Daisuke Taniguchi becomes Yoshihiko Sonezaki.
MAKOTO HARA: Makoto Kobayashi's first alias. "Hara" is Makoto Kobayashi's mother's maiden name.
MAKOTO KOBAYASHI: This is the fake Daisuke Taniguchi's real identity, the name he was born with. The fake Daisuke Taniguchi is referred to by attorney Kido-san as "X".

RIE: Makoto Kobayashi's wife. Makoto and Rie had one biological child, a girl named Hana. Rie's maiden name is Takemoto. Rie thought she was married to Daisuke Taniguchi but was actually married to the real Makoto Kobayashi.
YUUTO: Rie's first child, a son. Yuuto's biological father was Rie's first husband whose surname is Yoneda.
RYO: Rie's second child, a son. Ryo's biological father was Rie's first husband whose surname is Yoneda.
HANA: Rie & Makoto Kobayashi's only biological child, a daughter named Hana.

DAISUKE TANIGUCHI: The real Daisuke Taniguchi changed his name/identity to Yoshihiko Sonezaki. This real Daisuke Taniguchi swapped his real name with Yoshihiko Sonezaki who was actually the real Makoto Kobayashi.
KYOICHI TANIGUCHI: The real Daisuke Taniguchi's real brother.
MISUZU: The girlfriend of the real Daisuke Taniguchi.
OMIURA: The fascinating jailed con man identity trader who gives people new identity credentials. Omiura gave the real Makoto Kobayashi his fake names & identities.
SHOZO TASHIRO: The mentally challenged guy in jail who became the fake Makoto Hara.

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  • B Belinda Betwixt
  • 15-03-2021

Engaging and enlightening

The plot takes you through some twist and turns that keep you thinking... about the characters and about life in general. Listen and enjoy.

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  • Mr Chops
  • 21-06-2020

Not my style

Found all the intricate detail of the mundane a bit slow. Perhaps that is a Japanese style of writing, but failed to hold my interest.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anna Edgar
  • 21-06-2020

Too far?

Is it the translation, the hard to remember names, the subject, the at times odd reader inflections, that made this a disconnected story for me? in its emotional flatness it was disturbing but I remained unmoved. Perhaps I didn't fully understand, or perhaps 'lost in translation'?

1 person found this helpful

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  • juozas kasiulis
  • 26-10-2021

Names are important

From this audiobook I got that sometimes names can very important such big part of persons identity. This was an interesting listen for sure. Great narration.

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  • Ivan Nikolov
  • 12-01-2021

A picture from an exhibition

Really nice book, the story is combination of psychology, crime, existentialism and fine art.
I enjoyed very much.

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  • Elizabete
  • 13-08-2020

Boring

I struggled to finish this audiobook as I found it very, very boring. I catched myself multiple times not really listening and my mind wondering somewhere else.

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