Wrong About Japan
I have never read anything by Peter Carey before, but he is said to be a fairly good novelist. His newest book, Wrong About Japan, is classified as a Travel book, but after reading it, I have decided that it is more of a Travel Narrative, and almost like a short, underdeveloped novel.
Overall, I would say it is a fair book. It gives the reader an interesting impression of Tokyo, discusses some new facts that I never knew before, and occasionally excites the reader. I recommend buying it, or at least getting you hands on it.
It is quite obvious that Carey is a trained (or at least practiced) novelist. The most apparant novelist trait that he melds into his Travel writing technique is a strong narrative. He carries the reader through a chronological chain of events, with him as the narrator. But the aspect that makes narration in his book more novel-like is his incorporation of dialogue. Many of the passages are only dialogue, and these scenes seem like normal fiction dialogue writing.
I was a little disappointed to learn that Takashi, one of the more vibrant characters in the book, was completely fictional. Yes, Carey is not a good jounralist: he created fictional characters in a non-fiction book, he lost his notes notes quite often, he lost business cards frequently, and he was inconsistent in his travel planning.
After reading the book, I felt like Carey kept the best parts for him and his son. Perhaps the fact that he was travelling with his son is the reason he decided to keep his travel logue; so he could write more on the theme of "A Father's Journey With His Son," seeing as that was the subtitle of the book.
This book is indeed worth reading - it is very short, and will take little time - but I personally was hoping for a little more from it ...