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on Jan. 28, 2012 :
This is not a terribly written book, rather it it a well written book with a terrible main character.
If you enjoy reading about people who are completely self absorbed and continually make poor decisions and then wallow in the results you will find this a delightful read. Not my thing.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)
on Jan. 14, 2012 :
An American Branch, like Clip, another of Kenneth Wayne’s books, is unusual, entertaining and compelling.
Who would have thought that a story about the politics and infighting of the branch of an American university in Japan could be so page turning? But it is, and made so by the well-written, readable and flowing style of the narrative.
Charles Journeyman, the author’s protagonist, who also plays the major part in Clip, finds solace from his sexually-tired wife, and the impossible antics of the university’s hierarchy, in the vivacious and erotic mother of one of his pupils.
But when he discovers that her motives are not as honest as he’d thought, and her son has his own agenda, Charles’s life starts to fall apart.
An enjoyable read: empathetic, life-like and touching. Well done.
(reviewed long after purchase)
on Oct. 17, 2011 :
Wow. This is one heavily loaded dramatic read. The main character Charles is an American teacher in Japan, and this book follows his downward spiral into hell.
He seems just like every other guy, caught up in his work and the logistical problems of the college he's teaching at, and having that awkward distance appearing between himself and his wife.
Up to this point, you don't really have a relationship with him. Then he makes the first of a series of potentially volatile and damaging decisions. It includes raunchy sex with a grateful mother (of one of his students), it has him backstabbing his boss, and entering into his lost youth when he starts smoking pot and taking LSD.
All things considered, he's lucky he got off as lightly as he did.
This book is a delightful sojourn into Japan, the food, the lifestyle, and the gorgeous beauty of the place - Highlighted starkly against the US midwest.
But the twists continue, and as a reader you feel it. Wholeheartedly ensconced in Charles' life, you want to shake him, and your insides contract when you discover the horror at the end.
What a way to end a book.
It was a wild ride, one I could not anticipate from the book's blurb. Nothing prepares you for how candid and gut wrenching this read is.
This book turns you into a voyeur, witnessing the best and worst moments of this man's life.
It was well written and compelling.
(reviewed long after purchase)