Monkey Man is the second book I read by the Japanese author Takuji Ichikawa after The Refugees’ Daughter. I like this book as well as his first book, and I can say I’ll be on the lookout for his new books from now on.
Monkey Man is set in Japan in the future (and I can say that it is not too distant). The world is now a worse place; corruption is everywhere, and the giant corporation The Complex is after everything it can acquire, even the lives of the awakened. The awakened are children who are awakening. They have super abilities and are very kind. They cannot even hurt the ones who beat them; it is not in their DNA; they just cannot do it. Some are very intelligent, some are very strong, fast etc., and some have healing powers.
Monkey Man follows the story of Yuri, a teenager with powers that have moved to a new place and goes to school. She soon realises that she somehow feels closer to the misfits in her new school. And without losing much time, she meets with one of them and learns about the awakening and the new generation of children with superpowers. She also discovers a game called Babel, and I’m sure any reader would want to play that game once they learn what it is.
Monkey Man is another good book in the Red Circle Mini series, and it is one of those books with a clear message. It reads a bit like a young-adult book, but it is so well-written that surely everyone will like it. Enjoy!
Monkey Man: A world on the brink of disaster where children with new attitudes are awakening – some with strange new abilities. In Monkey Man, 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.
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 Monkey Man, 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.
Red Circle Minis: Original, Short and Compelling Reads
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.
‘The power of his storytelling is due to the candour of the feelings expressed. As if, confusing reality, somewhat magically, is what makes literature compelling giving it the power to delight and please.’ –Le Monde
Takuji Ichikawa, born in Chofu City in the greater Tokyo Metropolitan area in 1962, dreamt of being an author when we was in primary school, but only started writing seriously in his late 20s after the birth of his first child, shortly after getting married.
Ichikawa’s path, however, to becoming a bestselling author was neither direct nor conventional. After graduating from Dokkyo University, a well-regarded private university located in Saitama close to Tokyo, where he studied economics and ran the 800 metres as a member of the university’s athletics club, he landed a job at a publishing company.
Ichikawa, however, couldn’t cope with the life of a salaryman or an office full of adults, and quit after just three months, deciding instead to cycle around Japan and postpone working life.
After two years of flitting from one part time job to another he started working at a small tax accountancy office, which he found less intimidating, friendly and structured, and where he stayed for 14 years.
Initially, Ichikawa started writing stories for his wife, who he met in high school, and was soon boasting shortly after getting married, at the age of 27, that one day one of his stories would end up being made into a major film, and probably in Hollywood.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: