|Year of Publication
Kyoto University student Aozora Fujiwara has been playing too much mah-jong and now he’s deep in debt. When Aunt Okane (‘money’) dies and leaves a collection of priceless art to him and his sister, Mai, he thinks his problems are solved. But they’re only just beginning: Mai’s disappeared and he can’t liquidate the estate without her. The quest that ensues takes Aozora to the deep south of Japan and the unlikely setting of a Dutch theme park called, Amsterland... The joy in Sherwood’s tale is in Aozora’s madcap journey, during which he meets a slew of silly—and often sinister—souls. Among them: an oyster-loving businessman who sells lifelike inflatable dolls, and a corpulent crime boss who looks like a cross between Liberace and Kim Jong-Il. In his carefully woven descriptions, Sherwood shows unusual insight into a fast-changing society of disaffected youth and sleazy governance. This picaresque on steroids offers a refreshingly irreverent look at contemporary life in a not entirely implausible Japan.