London, UK

The selection of ‘The Thief’ as one of the ‘Best Ten Crime Novels Of The Last Decade’ caps another exciting year for the Zen master of Noire Fuminori Nakamura

The Thief and other novels by Fuminori Nakamura in English translation published by Soho Press on display. Photo: Red Circle Authors Limited.
The Thief, first published in Japanese in 2009 and subsequently in English in 2012, translated by Satoko Izumo and Stephen Coates, has been ranked amongst the ‘Best Ten Crime Novels’ of the past decade by the influential US publication CrimeReads

CrimeReads writes in its 2019 ranking, which it describes as “an unscientific, hotly-debated look at ten years of crime fiction” that: “Nakamura’s eerie atmosphere and spare prose are on full display, and it makes sense that this book would also have established his writing in the US. The Thief is also a great representation of the revival of midcentury minimalism that’s helped define the style of the decade”. 

No other Japanese authors made the top 10. However, two titles by Japanese authors are listed amongst CrimeReads 80 or so  ‘Notable Selections’ The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino and Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama.

For Nakamura, who is known for penning fast-paced narratives that hypnotically blend psychological suspense with literary fiction, 2019 has been another year packed full of important and impressive publishing milestones, including this ranking, in which his book is listed third after works by Sara Gran and Gillian Flynn, major American authors.

Announcement in the Asahi Shimbun of the serialisation of The Card Shark by Fuminori Nakamura commencing 1 October 2019. Photo: Red Circle Authors Limited.

Other examples of this year’s milestones include: Kawade Shobo Shinsha, a major Japanese publisher founded in 1886 publishing Nakamura’s first collection of essays, and the Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s most important national daily newspapers, starting publishing daily, from October, installments of Nakamura’s latest novel, The Card Shark, in its morning edition and its online edition.

This latest serialisation of a Nakamura novel follows the serialisation of The Fugitive by Nakamura in several Japanese newspapers, including the Tokyo Shimbun and the Hokkaido Shimbun, also newspapers with multi-million readership figures. 

This clearly highlights the high regard for and popularity of Nakamura and his prose in Japan. It is very unusual for an author to have two serialisations like this, back-to-back, in major Japanese newspapers.

Der Revolver, The Gun, translated by Thomas Eggenberg, published by Diogenes Verlag in September 2019.
Yet another important example, this time highlighting the growing international interest in Nakamura and his prose, not just in the English reading world, is the publication of the German language edition of his debut novel Der Revolver, The Gun, translated by Thomas Eggenberg, by Diogenes Verlag in September this year.

This is the third novel by Nakamura to be published in German, a very important and influential publishing language. 

Germany is in fact the world’s third largest publishing country market, one that is much larger than Nakamura’s home market Japan, which is ranked fourth in terms of size by the International Publishers Association (IPA) and a country only out ranked in terms of book sales by the US, the world’s largest publishing market, and China the second largest.  

These examples of just some of Nakamura’s exciting news this year comes in the wake of 2018, which was another big year for the author, a year when the English translation of his highly acclaimed novel Cult X was published by Soho Crime, translated by Kalau Almony, his seventh novel to be published in English.

And three full length feature films were launched in Japan based on his books, including the film adaption of The Gun, which has also been published in France, the firth largest publishing market, in French, translated by Myriam Dartois-Ako.
  • RedCircle
    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:
    • Fuminori Nakamura
      About Fuminori Nakamura:
      Fuminori Nakamura is the most exciting thriller and crime writer of his generation in Japan whose fast-paced narratives hypnotically blend psychological suspense with literary fiction. Nakamura, who has won numerous literary prizes in Japan, won his first non-Japanese literary award in 2014, the NoirCon’s David L. Goodis Award, named after the American crime fiction writer, who epitomized the noir fiction genre.