SALMONELLA MEN ON PLANET PORNO by Yasutaka Tsutsui

SALMONELLA MEN ON PLANET PORNO

by , translated by

KIRKUS REVIEW

A collection of short stories about contemporary life gone awry marks the American debut of Japanese absurdist Tsutsui.

The author, much touted in Japan for his surrealist fiction, begins by highlighting the blurred line between dreams and reality. In “The Dabba Dabba Tree,” a couple acquires a tree that causes profoundly erotic dreams—dreams about people who may not be dreaming about them. Similarly comical is “Hello Hello Hello!,” which features a young couple with money trouble who become conned by a ubiquitous financial advisor who magically appears whenever they do anything he deems excessive, including eating and having sex. “Rumours about Me” satirizes the paparazzi by questioning what would happen if the mundane daily activities of a typical office worker were suddenly scrutinized by the media—beginning with a rejection for a date by a co-worker. Many of the titles are amusingly self-explanatory. In “The Last Smoker,” for example, a defiant citizen is hunted by vigilant anti-smoking police, and vows to finish his last cigarettes before committing suicide rather than living a smoke-free life. And in “The World Is Tilting,” a city slowly begins to sink into the Pacific Ocean, leaving residents struggling to keep up with their daily lives. The title story lives up to its bizarre name, following a group of research scientists as they explore a sex-crazed earth alternative where libidos run rampant and no one wears clothes. Tsutsui’s imagination is vivid, and his prose is enchantingly simple, perfectly chronicling the banality of daily life. But many of his stories still feel like one-trick ponies, and the lack of emotional depth keeps them from being great.

The best of these pieces echo Haruki Murakami, but Tsutsui still has a long way to go.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-307-37726-5
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2008




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