Lifestyle/Entertainment Editor, Asia, Tokyo
Elaine's Feed
Mar 22, 2012

Book Talk: Kari Vaara drifts into Finnish darkness

TOKYO, March 22 (Reuters) – Finnish cop Kari Vaara has just
had surgery for a brain tumour that leaves him unable to feel
any emotions and is running a covert operation which strays onto
morally ambiguous ground.

“Helsinki White,” James Thompson’s third novel featuring
Vaara, follows him on a dark trail through a wintry Finland
beset with corruption, xenophobia and economic angst.

Mar 15, 2012

Book Talk: Deceit and espionage in darkest Luxembourg

TOKYO, March 15 (Reuters) – The worst thing about
Kate’s life in Luxembourg as the trailing spouse of a man hired
to work on banking security at first simply appears to be the
boredom of spending days among fellow housewives after giving up
her career.

But Kate, the heroine of Chris Pavone’s debut novel “The
Expats,” is a former CIA agent who has never told her husband
what she did. As she seeks both to escape her past deeds and
become a new person, she starts to become suspicious not only of
her husband Dexter’s doings but those of a couple whose
friendliness may not be quite what it seems.

Mar 14, 2012

Finding the BFF of your dreams

TOKYO, March 14 (Reuters) – When Rachel Bertsche
finally moved to Chicago to live with her boyfriend, soon to be
husband, she realized that despite the romantic bliss her life
was missing something significant — girlfriends.

After bemoaning her status for more than two years, Rachel
set out on a search for a “best friend forever” or BFF, pledging
to go on at least one friend date a week until she found her
ideal: a person she could call on a whim for brunch, hang out
with in front of the television, or share coffee and long talks.

Mar 1, 2012

Tale of father-daughter love that survives tough times

TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) – The young girl clings to
her deaf mother’s hip in a crowded bowling alley, watching as a
deaf man with hooks for hands talks using sign language,
scraping the curved metal claws together as if demonstrating
cooking knives.

The image opens “Burn Down the Ground,” a memoir by debut
U.S. author Kambri Crews about growing up as the hearing child
of two deaf parents, a life that she credits with giving her
both an aptitude and love of storytelling that have helped make
her the successful comedian she is today.

Feb 23, 2012

Book Talk: A tale of love and loss, sisters and secrets

TOKYO (Reuters) – Korean-American Janie’s family has lost a daughter in each generation, her grandmother says. So when her younger sister Hannah suddenly vanishes, Janie sets out to track her down through a labyrinth of family secrets and difficult history.

“Forgotten Country,” Catherine Chung’s debut novel, weaves Korean folklore and a host of linked and opposing pairs — Korea and the United States, North and South Korea, American-born children and their immigrant parents, two very different sisters — into a spare, haunting tale of loss, yearning and discovery.

Feb 16, 2012

Book Talk: Carol O’Connell on life with Mallory

TOKYO, Feb 16 (Reuters) – Green-eyed, blonde and tall,
Kathy Mallory is respected and feared by the cops who work with
her, described sometimes as a cat playing with a mouse and
nicknamed “Mallory the Machine.”

Even her creator, author Carol O’Connell, says she’s not
entirely sure how much she might actually like her own heroine
in real life. Mallory, the star of a series of bestselling
novels, now returns in “The Chalk Girl,” her ninth adventure,
after a multi-year wait.

Feb 10, 2012

48 Hours in Bali

SANUR, Bali (Reuters) – Lush tropical landscapes, intricate Hindu temples, long stretches of beach fringed with palm trees, and traditional dances both graceful and furious are all part of the charms of this resort island that keep visitors coming.

Yet venture away from the main tourist drag and it’s still possible to spend hours strolling through rice fields, stopping in villages along the way to chat with locals.

Feb 10, 2012

Travel Postcard: 48 Hours in Bali

SANUR, Bali (Reuters) – Lush tropical landscapes, intricate Hindu temples, long stretches of beach fringed with palm trees, and traditional dances both graceful and furious are all part of the charms of this resort island that keep visitors coming.

Yet venture away from the main tourist drag and it’s still possible to spend hours strolling through rice fields, stopping in villages along the way to chat with locals.

Feb 9, 2012

Book Talk: A Peek into Loss and Darkness with Dan Chaon

TOKYO (Reuters) – In the world of Dan Chaon’s stories, nothing is quite what it should be — or perhaps it’s the way it always was, and nobody saw it clearly before.

A widower finds cryptic messages on dollar bills blowing along the street. A man and his wife try to cope with having a baby that is born with two heads. Sleety nights invite images of skeletons flying through the air.

Feb 2, 2012

Book Talk: Unlikely friendship shines light on persecution

TOKYO, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Lamont Williams is a hospital
janitor just out of jail, eager to get through probation at his
job and find the daughter he hasn’t seen for years. Adam
Zignelik is a university professor reeling from being denied
tenure and having his girlfriend dump him.

The two main characters in Elliot Perlman’s vast novel “The
Street Sweeper” are both jolted from their private miseries by
meeting a dying Auschwitz survivor and patient at the hospital,
whose stories about making it out of a Nazi death camp alive
feed into tales about the U.S. Civil Rights movement.