Cover Image: Life for Sale

Life for Sale

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Member Reviews

This was my first time reading a work by this author. I enjoyed it, but it took me a little while to get there.

The overall vibe of this piece felt like a cross between The Catcher in the Rye and James Bond. I know, that sounds super bizarre, but I can’t think of any other way to summarize it. There were times when I couldn’t break away, and there were also times when I couldn’t connect with the plot anymore. It just... kept going with seemingly little purpose. 

This novel concluded with an extremely sudden ending. It felt kind of random, but with a purpose, and left me wanting more. Although it was sudden, I enjoyed how it all came together.

I appreciated the fact that the protagonist evolved over time, along with the plot. The female side characters felt rather flat and I kind of wish the author took the time to make them out to be more human.

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read this piece. A more comprehensive review will be posted closer to the release date.
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(I received an ARC of the 2020 reprint of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion). This book is a trip, unfolding like the Japanese cousin of The Stranger by Camus. The protagonist wants to die, but is not very good at it, starting with a failed suicide at the beginning of the book, then just keeps rolling whatever life throws at him after he puts his life up for sale. It's a dark comedy, if you choose to think of it that way, which is also something that would apply to life.
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Strange Japanese fiction reminds me of Murakami, but this book was written a generation before him. Maybe it is the translation style or my imagination is reductive. A man puts his life up for sale and has strange misadventures. Women, including a vampire, are not particularly depicted well in this book.
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I received this book complimentary from NetGalley but all opinions are my own. 
This was interesting. I liked the plot and premise. I liked the writing and characters. It was well-done.
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When I saw this cover and read the description of this book, it sounded interesting. 

Hanio Yamada is a 27-year-old copywriter for Tokyo Ad who, after a failed a suicide attempt, quits his job and advertises his own life for sale in a Tokyo newspaper. Yamada’s life is shaken up when he agrees to the increasingly bizarre requests of those who respond to his offer.  Mobsters, sex, poisonous carrots, espionage, a vampire woman…it’s all a bit much. This is a very dark comedy, not really what I usually read. I was initially attracted to the book because I thought it would be more gangster/yakuza. This originally came out in 1968 and was a serial in Japan. I’m not sure what to make of this. It was a quick read but not at all what I was expecting and not really something that I would call enjoyable. Great cover though! I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for this review.
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A dark dark novel the value of a mans life.First time in translation by a world renowned author a book that is not an easy read a book that is not an easy read but Incoudnot put it down.#netgalley#knopfdoubleday
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A fascinating tale of Hanio, a man who decides to put his life up for sale after unsuccessfully attempting suicide. The premise is enough to intrigue, but also bleak enough to know that this won't necessarily be a feel good story. I loved the book and found Hanio's journey to be both exciting and thought-provoking. The characters that he meets and the situations he finds himself in are executed brilliantly. I don't often say this, but I wish it had been longer. I could definitely have spent another 150-200 pages with Hanio and his quest to decide just how much he believes his life is worth living.
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Was Mishima embarrassed by this decidedly quirky, goofy little book? Worlds away from his other fiction, this posthumous novel reads like a mystery thriller, with a light-hearted tone, dark themes, and represents a gray-area exploration of the human psyche. Is the main character dissatisfied, or simply mad? Are the oddballs he gets entangled with justified, selfish, or reprehensible? 

I am no expert in Mishima's work, but I have read enough of it to notice a preoccupation with death, particularly suicide. This fascination flows through much of his writing, it seems to me, and stems from the fact that he wrote with a purpose, and wished to apply this purpose to his life, to live with meaning, and to stir change in the hearts of people. Death takes on presence in life, stakes a claim, gathers the toil and accumulation of our struggles in order to quantify and weigh our existence. Surely, this is one of the least traditional of his works. Inhabiting the land of Kobo Abe, having departed the safer fictional waters of Tanizaki and Soseki. It was nonetheless an elegant, absurd, enjoyable novel, fanciful in the extreme, dreamlike and memorable. It suffers from deus ex machina and complete randomness at parts, but also acquires quite a bit of charm upon reflection.

The concept of a 'life for sale' may never have been taken so literally as in this work. Hanio creates the advertisement and is met with a surprising amount of success in his venture. But what he learns from his experiment differs from his original goal. Formulaic though it is, the episodic nature of the novel is by turns melodramatic and psychedelic, gruesome and pulpy, cheesy, cartoonish, yet always morally significant. 

Scholars may be at a loss to explain how imperative Life for Sale is in World Literature, but it will not fail to entertain
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This book was a bit too dark for me. It made me a hit sad at times. Especially at the beginning. As the story continues it gets better....but... Be prepared for rough moments. 
Solid 4 stars!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for giving me on ARC of this book! 

4/5 stars. 

Don't have any major complaints, but I hate open endings. And this book has one that is open, and while it is done better than most, just a few more paragraphs would have at least given me a confirmed ending and I would have been happier. 

The cast of characters is so crazy, as some of them only have a few traits mentioned but they still manage to feel so alive. Sometimes a character would only be relevant for a chapter or two and I would still feel like I have a great general idea of how that character acts and behaves. Our MC was a great voice all around, if not a wee bit on the horny side throughout the entire novel. Which granted, for a man is pretty accurate writing. 

I feel like there was definitely a philosophical message that was just too advanced for my brain to comprehend. I liked the discussions on suicide and meaninglessness, but still I totally felt like there was something that was just coasting over my head. 

This is a short book so I don't have too much to say without spoiling, but I did enjoy it regardless of the open ending. And it made me want to read more Mishima so I guess its a win/win.
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I loved this. It reminded me of Fran Ross' Oreo. A postmodern odyssey tale that's half part noir and half part existentialist farce.
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I have always loved Yukio Mishima's novels so I was thrilled to find that 3 additional books have been released post mortem. I was given an ARC by Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. While not as well written as some of his later novels, it possesses all the characteristics that define the author. A man fails in his suicide attempt so he decides to put his life up for sale. This opens a riotous journey, pure camp and pulp with a bizarre list of characters and happenings. It is a page turner filled with the macabre and existential: murderous mobsters, hidden cameras, a vampire woman, poisonous carrots, espionage and code-breaking, a junkie heiress, home-made explosives and decoys. It was a fun, quick romp.4*
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This was a very strange book built around the premise of the value of a life. Themes are dark. I learned about the author and his dark life and it makes the story sadder. The second half was more enjoyable than the first.  I'm not honestly sure HOW I feel about th his one.
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Amazing. Absolutely loved this. The plot and writing style were both right up my alley. A healthy dose of magical realism and some funky storytelling. It's tough to leave a review here without giving any of the plot away.

Hanio is one of my favorite literary characters now. The story of Mishima is just intoxicating and overwhelmingly sad at the same time. What a loss to the literary world.

I tried to space out the reading of this so I could enjoy it more. This is a book I will read again and again, I can already tell.
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I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to read a first translation of a supposed "cult classic," but I can see that I am not the target audience. Those that would enjoy this are likely to lead an unsatisfying, lonely life.
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I thoroughly enjoyed diving into the lives of some of the most vulnerable. I think this book is being published at the perfect time and I’m so fortunate to have read it and tell people about it. Discussions surrounding these issues are very alive right now, especially in foreign policy circles in which I swim. Can’t wait to buy this for people who will want to read this too!
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I tried reading Mishima's "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion" in the past, but lost interest in the main character about a third of the way through. (The narrator struck me as the arrogant, self-absorbed type and I wanted him out of my head.)

This book, on the other hand, I finished in just a few days. The translation was wonderful―I was surprised by the subtle turns of phrase. More importantly, the narrator Hanio struck me as a believable character. He is in an ironic position: find one's life so meaningless as to want to sell it, but despise those who live for money. The observations he makes about the nature of humans and their shared existence serve his purpose well. How can we plan a meaningful life when it is so unpredictable? Why follow pointless rules if it only strengthens society's shared insanity? This pondering is a stark contrast to the comical events of the novel, but I think Mishima pulls it off.

Ultimately, Hanio has chosen to play a game of meta-living where the prize is death. The odds are determined by one's ability to avoid winning, which has the side effect of devaluing the prize. It is a delight to witness, and I am grateful for the advance copy.
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Mr. Toad’s wild ride ain’t got nuthin’ on this! Mishima has a way of making the bizarre seem ordinary, common place, expected and darkly funny. The tone of this reminds me of Kafka, Shirley Jackson and of PKD in that “Surely I must be peeking into the mind of a mad genius” way.

I quite enjoyed this delightful romp of existential, albeit macabre, erotica as our snotty protagonist struggling with ennui slouches with equanimity through the surreality his life has devolved into.
I could not help but note the irony of a book about a suicidal man written by a man who became a suicide himself, but perhaps it takes one to know one.

With lines like these how can ya not love the nutter!?
”... And from the resolute line of her lips, she seemed determined not to smile ever in her life.”
“The woman's gaping mouth appeared as a dark cavity that presented a secret route to the end of the world.”
“…Her bottom in the winter sunlight seemed crammed with the very essence of life, as voluptuous as any painted Renior.”
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*I received an arc copy from Netgalley in exchange for a review*

So I made it about 50% through and I just could not get through this any longer. As the premise is very intriguing and interesting. A man with suicidal thoughts wanting to sell his life in exchange for money/taking care of an animal(this part confused me but probably is explained at the end?). 

Firstly, this story being in the third person bugged the heck out of me! I did not feel I could connect with the emotions Hanio felt because it felt so distant. Also the explanation to why he wants to sale his life is explained fairly quickly and not very clear at the same time in the beginning. Also, his description of women made me roll my eyes constantly. The way women in the story were portrayed (at least from how far I read) was so plain and black and white from what I feel most male authors seem to do, for what reason?  who knows. It made me feel uncomfortable on how judgemental he was specifically towards women's appearances.

For example, 
 "Covered by a slightly faded green plaid skirt, her bottom in the winter sunlight seemed crammed with the very essence of life, as voluptuous as any painted by Renoir. She exuded the kind of glossy freshness one might find in a brand new tube of toothpaste just taken from its box, with its promise of a crisp morning... The tawdry silver pineapple earrings that she wore even though it was still daytime suggested she made her living in a third-rate bar. However, from the side her features were attractive and he found the curve of her nose exquisite. Women with drooping noses made Hanio sick of life, but this nose was shaped in a way that revived the spirits." 

I just did not vibe with the writing as much as I hoped. Either way, I did not finish and don't really plan on committing myself to the rest of the story sadly.
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Following a man who wishes to die but can’t bring himself to commit suicide and so decides to put his life up for sale, this novel is an enjoyable read filled with twists and turns, amusing scenarios, and interesting ruminations on topics like society, money, life, and death. Hanoi, the main character, mostly just goes along with the absurd things that happen to him in a very Murakami kind of way—but, more interestingly, he has a believable motivation for going along with ridiculous scenarios: because he wants to die. The ending was a bit abrupt and I wished to know what would happen next. But, overall, this was a quick story with a great translation that I would recommend.
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