Michiko Kakutani savages Peter Carey’s new book on his travels through Japan with his son.
“Wrong About Japan” does not give the reader a tactile appreciation of manga or anime or any other aspect of Japan’s pop culture. It does not probe, save in the most superficial manner, the dynamic between East and West that informs much of that youth culture. And while it provides a couple of touching glimpses of Mr. Carey and his son, it does not delve into their relationship or their feelings about their joint trip. Instead, “Wrong About Japan” turns out to be a thoroughly cursory travelogue that feels as though it had been written on a tight deadline for an airline magazine.
A review like this (Carey is a Booker Prize winner, no less) is depressing for a few reasons. It is yet another person who merely added to the noise and did not work to help to bridge the cultures. It seems to reinforce stereotypes about the “other”-ness of Japan. Nippon Goro Goro says
“This is probably one of the worst non-fiction books ever written about Japan in the post WWII era.”