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END OF THE WORLD BLUES by Jon Courtenay Grimwood


by Jon Courtenay Grimwood

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-553-58996-2
Publisher: Spectra/Bantam

A British veteran of the Iraq war with an extremely troubled past confronts apparently unknown enemies while plumbing the mystery of his ex-lover’s suicide in this William Gibson–esque noir.

In 2018, Kit Nouveau runs an Irish biker pub in Tokyo with his wife Yoshi, a brilliant but somewhat disturbed potter. Narrowly escaping a murderous attack, Kit returns home to an explosion that destroys his bar, his wife and his anomic complacency. While trying to collect the scattered scraps of his life, he receives a visit from crime boss Kate O’Mally, mother of the only woman Kit ever really loved. Convinced that her daughter Mary could not have possibly killed herself, she demands that Kit discover the truth. Meanwhile, Kit is trailed everywhere by Neku, a teenage runaway dressed like a manga character who has millions of Yakuza cash stashed in a train-station locker. Her presence both helps Kit and creates a whole new host of problems for him. Interleaved with this narrative is a bizarre, far-future tale in which Neku lives with her mother and three brothers in a decaying castle located on a broken segment of the moon. It is either a story that Neku has invented to fit her new fantastical persona, a symbolic retelling of her family’s brutal murder, a potential life she has experienced, or will experience, or all three. Both stories twist and turn intriguingly and confusingly, occasionally punctuated by shocking violence. Suddenly, the loose ends come together with an almost slapdash rapidity. As per usual for Grimwood (Stamping Butterflies, 2006, etc.), it isn’t the resolution, but the journey, that seems to be important.

Dizzying and fascinating.