New Vessel Press | 133 pages
This is the Japanese Catcher in the Rye for the 21st Century. As Hiro and Tetsu cautiously open up to each other, they discover in their sadness a common bond. Regrets and disappointments, as well as hopes and dreams, come to the surface until both find the strength to somehow give a new start to their lives. This beautiful novel is moving, unforgettable, and full of surprises. The reader turns the last page feeling that a small triumph has occurred.
Author Milena Michiko Flašar was born in 1980, the daughter of a Japanese mother and an Austrian father. She lives in Vienna. I Called Him Necktie won the 2012 Austrian Alpha Literature Prize.
Translator Sheila Dickie studied German and drama at Bristol University and has taught German. She has translated a novel by Claude Michelet from French, and lives in Henley-on-Thames, England.
“Milena Michiko Flašar’s beautiful novel … is a story about freedom and responsibility, and it results in an almost Sartrean meditation.” — Times Literary Supplement
“A sensory, sensitive novel … the story moves with simplicity, told in jolts of savory detail.” — The Literary Review
“The best of the best from this year’s bountiful harvest of uncommonly strong offerings … Deeply original.” — O, The Oprah Magazine
“Exceptional … In today’s less-than-brave new world in which sincere human interaction is disappearing even as the numbers of so-called ‘friends’ are multiplying, Necktie is a piercing reminder to acknowledge, nurture, and share our humanity.” — Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s BookDragon
“The quiet reflection of this jewel of a novel is revelatory, redemptive and hypnotic until the last word.” — Kirkus Reviews
“With high artistry … this seductive beauty is also strangely religious: the book treats life with an almost Buddhist serenity.” — Der Spiegel
“A tender, melancholy book of great linguistic beauty and clarity. A flawless novel.” — Süddeutsche Zeitung
“A spare, stunning, elegiac gem of a book. Milena Michiko Flašar writes with a poet’s clarity of language and vision, probing deeply below the surfaces of familiar Japanese stereotypes … to tell a compassionate and insightful story of dysfunction, despair and friendship.” — Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being
“Flašar’s exquisite, finely wrought novel is both a prose poem and a parable about how we deflect, defer and disconnect from life, and what is needed before we can bravely embrace it again.” — Monique Truong, author of The Book of Salt and Bitter in the Mouth