Kenji Yamada has a critical wife, a hated mother-in-law and what he thinks is a job for life until his fortieth birthday teaches him otherwise. Initially too embarassed to tell his family that he has been fired, Kenji first befriends a travelling salesman with a passion for Elvis before taking up gambling, but his wife's outrage soon brings an end to this and sends him on a roller-coaster of misadventures.
Via a bizarre chain of happenstance - including being struck by lightning while wielding a golf club - Kenji somehow finds himself responsible for a weirdly believable game show...
Fiona Campbell's novel is a sparkling debut with graphic-novel sharpness, humour and poignancy.
Born in 1974, Fiona Campbell studied psychology and zoology at Bristol University and UCL. She then moved to Tokyo to work for Unilever, and while she was there she began writing. On her return to the UK, she completed this novel for the Manchester Metropolitan Writing MA, and she currently works as a policy director for environmental campaigns in Liverpool.
This is an absolutely brilliant first novel
The Times - Kate Saunders
Fiona Campbell's comic caper is an entertaining overview of Japanese society's collision with the worst excesses of western culture
Guardian - Catherine Taylor
Kenji is the kind of luckless dreamer it's hard not to root for
Observer - Hepzibah Anderson
An enjoyably sentimental journey of self-discovery, the novel betrays no hint of dislocation between author and subject matter