Friday, August 19, 2011

Exit A

A book I read in 2007:

Exit A: A NovelExit A: A Novel Anthony Swofford

Amazon description:
Seventeen-year-old Severin Boxx, an earnest, muscular high-school-football star, lives on an American air force base on the outskirts of Tokyo. Severin is mad for Virginia Kindwall, the base general's daughter, who is a hafu -- half American and half Japanese. Beautiful, smart, and utterly defiant of her father, Virginia has become a petty criminal in the Japanese underground.

Severin is soon caught up in Virginia's world, and together they drift through the mad neon landscape outside the walls of the base, near the busy Haijima rail station, a place of movement, anonymity, and sudden disappearance. Exit A is one of its many shadowy doorways. Severin and Virginia fall into trouble way over their heads and are soon subjected to the enormous, unforgiving tensions between America and Japan. Years later, Severin and Virginia remain lost to each other, until an emotionally frayed, thirty- something Severin embarks on a quest to find Virginia -- and the part of himself taken from him when his boyhood abruptly ended.

Darkly irreverent, frankly erotic, at once suspenseful and emotionally overwhelming, Swofford's Exit A builds inexorably toward a climax as it audaciously plumbs the legacies of war, the wish for redemption, and the danger of love..........

I adored the first half of this book-- the part were Severin and Virginia are in high school. I loved the descriptions of base life and the town/base interactions and the general and cultural tensions between the Americans and Japanese.

But then when it fast-forwards to them as adults, it lost me. It took a weird turn about North Koreans kidnapping Japanese kids and I didn't understand why Severin and Virginia grew into the adults they grew into. The ending was also really weak.

It was all the more disappointing because the first half of the novel was so very, very good.

Book Provided by... my local library

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