This might be among the best tests of a powerful, well-written novel: days after finishing the sweeping, gripping Roppongi, a first novel by Nick Vasey, I happened upon a news story about the namesake district of Tokyo, and my visceral response was immediate and uncanny. “I wonder what’s going on in Roppongi lately, since I was last there?”
Indeed, I’m not sure that has ever happened to me before–to read a book, and to be so transported that the setting and the characters become a perceived part of my own narrative. How did Mr. Vasey manage this? You need to read it for yourself and you will know what I mean.
In other words, Mr. Vasey has a unique talent and a bit of magic, and his first novel, Roppongi, is a unique display of just that. As a literary and film agent, I have seen a lot of first time novels, and as I got into this one, I was waiting for the typical inconsistencies that usually accompany the experience. Instead, the power of both the narrative and the characters, and Mr. Vasey’s indefinable hoodoo took hold and I found myself wrapped completely in the exotic, exciting and unsettling world of Roppongi and the very real people from around the world that have come to work, play, dance and maybe lose everything in this crazy place.
I couldn’t put the book down. Roppongi is a tour de force that speaks and moves on many levels. Pick it up, give it a chance, and enjoy the ride. A bio piece I read about Mr. Vasey states that these days we might catch him building a hummingbird feeder and maybe working on his next novel. I am happy for the birds, and I am also hoping the latter may be true, too.