Monkey Man, a pulsating novella from Takuji Ichikawa, one of Japan’s most imaginative, bestselling and unusual authors, pointedly challenges readers to consider how we can change the inevitable course of history and save the human race from itself.
Monkey Man, a 90-page novella released today, 22 September 2021, is being published as part of Red Circle Minis, a series of short captivating books by Japan’s finest contemporary writers.
Yuri, a 17-year-old girl, is starting in a new high school where she hopes to re-commence a normal student life. But when she witnesses an unusual classmate, Tengo, get struck by a car and walk away unscathed, she decides to reveal her secrets.
What makes Yuri special has, however, not gone unnoticed by The Complex, a shadowy organisation that has been hunting her and will not stop until they discover the source of her powers. She will need the help of Tengo and his gifted misfit friends to escape The Complex’s control and help realise the destiny of Generation Alpha.
In this newly commissioned work, translated by Lisa and Daniel Lilley, Ichikawa creates a page-turning story about the children of tomorrow who will be called on to heal the world from spiritual and environmental decay.
Monkey Man like all the others books in the Red Circle Minis series is a first edition written specifically for the series and is being published in English first before any other language including Japanese.
Takuji Ichikawa is an author who ignores traditional boundaries and is impossible to pigeonhole. One whose positive and fantastical narratives touch the soul through storytelling that not only ‘transforms and heals’, but also sells in the millions.
After initially publishing stories online, his second novel Ima Ai ni Yukimasu (Be With You) became a blockbuster, selling more than a million copies in Japan, putting Ichikawa on the Japanese literary map.
The publication of Be With You also sparked the imagination of others, leading to the creation of a Japanese film, several international remakes, a television drama and a manga.
Ichikawa’s works, which often depict love and loss, continue to resonate and be adapted for film. And Ichikawa, who has been diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome, continues to consistently demonstrate that literature has and should have no borders, and that being different is all about being special – something that should be celebrated.
Lisa and Daniel Lilley met in Kyoto when they were studying Japanese language and literature. The impressive resilience they witnessed during the events of the Tohoku Earthquake inspired them to return to Japan after they completed their studies. They have now lived and worked together in Japan for nearly a decade, initially in Awaji and subsequently in Tokyo where they are now based.
What the reviewers are saying:
“A well-paced speculative thriller set in a not unrecognisable future, great characters and well thought out premise makes this a really enjoyable… Now looking forward to getting more books in this series and reading more by Takuji Ichikawa.” Big Bearded Bookseller
“Takuji Ichikawa’s world isn’t the future: the dystopia is now… a story about fighting for what’s worth protecting… Monkey Man has something classic YA dystopian novels like Feed or The Hunger Games don’t: hope.” Asian Review of Books
“In under 80 pages, this short story manages to create an entire world in so very few pages. With such a uniquely beautiful writing style, this story blends a world of science with poetry and philosophy to create something stunning.” B.S. Casey
“As modern fairy tale, Monkey Man is a solid work of fiction, with Ichikawa presenting a good little story.” The Complete Review
“pulses with energy and positivity, and we need more, much more of that in the world… a gripping mix of the fantastical and the everyday.” Metropolis Japan
“fantasy tale…grounded in contemporary concerns about environmental degradation, excessive corporate power and alienated youth…a writer who clearly understands the zeitgeist.” Japan Forward
“a short but exciting read, with the young people up against powerful forces… Works like this, as well as being good reads, are vital in reminding us to try to take back control of our lives every day – if we all did that…” Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings
“Everything about this series’ intention and design is steeped in Japanese culture… the books are thematically diverse [and] signal a cultural exchange… communicating directly and intentionally with Western audiences through fiction.” TLS
“Their very compactness sets them apart as rather special and even luxurious, in a way that accentuates the distinctive appeal of a self-contained Japanese short story.” Wasafiri, the Journal of International Contemporary Writing
“Monkey Man offers us a glimmer of hope in a very dark dystopian world.” Alex Pearl, author of Sleeping with the Blackbirds and The Chair Man
Monkey Man is part of Red Circle Minis, a series of short captivating books by Japan’s finest contemporary writers that brings the narratives and voices of Japan together as never before. Each book is a first edition, packaged in a beautifully pocket-sized slice of Japanese culture, written specifically for the series and is being published in English first.
To order Monkey Man please click here.
- About Red Circle:Red Circle Authors Limited is a specialist publishing and communications company that conducts bespoke projects on behalf of a carefully selected and curated group of leading Japanese authors. Red Circle showcases Japan’s best creative writing. For more information on Red Circle, Japanese literature, and Red Circle authors please visit: www.redcircleauthors.com.