“From Susie Wong to Madame Butterfly to Miss Saigon: you might think that we've had enough of American men adventuring, scoring, and coming undone in the Far East. But you'd be wrong. Gammarino's Big in Japan is a shrewd and lively book, sharp-eyed and unsparing in its account of a young American's good and very bad moments overseas. The writing is wired and the ultimate judgement is merciless. It's seductive and it's devastating.” —PF Kluge, author of Eddie and the Cruisers and Gone Tomorrow
Yvette is the daughter of a courtesan who serves men of wealth and status. She seems to be oblivious of how her mother makes money and why they are always in the presence of princes, dukes and barons. Only when she goes away to a holiday at the river, she realizes that the Baron Saval is engaging her mother in such activities and she…
All but one of them, that is.
Brain Tedesco, the band's obsessive-compulsive nerve center, has fallen in love with a part-time sex worker - the first woman ever to have touched him - and his illusions have only just begun. What ensues is a gritty coming-of-age tale in which Brain, intent on achieving some kind of transcendence, paradoxically (or not so paradoxically) descends into the Hungry Ghost realm of Tokyo’s underworld. He becomes, in effect, a gaki - the insatiable creature of Buddhist cosmology - and must learn how to live even as his outsize desires threaten to engulf him.
By turns compassionate and ruthless, erotic and grotesque, riotously serious and deadly funny, Big in Japan is a sparking, gut-wrenching, face-melting debut novel.