Kanehara, Hitomi 1983–
Kanehara, Hitomi 1983–
PERSONAL: Born 1983, in Japan.
ADDRESSES: Home—Tokyo, Japan. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Dutton Books, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.
AWARDS, HONORS: Akutagawa prize, 2004 for Snakes and Earrings.
Snakes and Earrings, Dutton Books (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Japanese writer Hitomi Kanehara stopped attending school at the age of eleven, and left home when she was a teenager. She wrote stories and sent them home to her father, e-mailing copies to him to be edited. Her first novel, Snakes and Earrings, was awarded the prestigious Akutagawa prize for a first work of fiction in 2004, making the then-twenty-year-old Kanehara the youngest winner ever. The book went on to top the best-seller lists in Japan, selling over a million copies.
Snakes and Earrings focuses with brutal honesty on Japan's modern-day youth culture, as characters participate in edgy nightlife, body piercings, drugs and alcohol, and instant sexual gratification. Christine Thomas, in a review for Artforum International, called Kanehara's writing "straightforward and unapologetic, she never shies away from 'dirty' realities." Thomas concluded that, "though the novel works too hard at its ending … Snakes and Earrings remains elegantly raw and remarkable in its potent simplicity." In a review for Library Journal, Prudence Peiffer remarked of the book that "some of its underdeveloped rawness works … but these aspects yield to a predictable final plot twist and hasty conclusion." Sarah Rachel Egelman, writing for Bookreporter.com, commented that "Kanehara's literary voice is raw and honest" in telling "a tale full of murder, sadism and body modification. It is a graphic, disturbing and scathing commentary on Japanese youth culture. Yet it is, in its way, enthralling and definitely powerful."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Artforum International, summer, 2005, Christine Thomas, review of Snakes and Earrings, p. S52.
Entertainment Weekly, May 27, 2005, Karen Karbo, review of Snakes and Earrings, p. 146.
Kirkus Reviews, March 15, 2005, review of Snakes and Earrings, p. 307.
Library Journal, March 15, 2005, Prudence Peiffer, review of Snakes and Earrings, p. 72.
Book Reporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (September 1, 2005), "Hitomi Kanehara."
Elle Online, http://www.elle.com/ (September 1, 2005), "Hitomi Kanehara."
Festival delle Letterature Web site, http://www.festivaldelleletterature.it/ (September 1, 2005), "Hitomi Kanehara."
Guardian Online, http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (September 1, 2005). "Hitomi Kanehara."